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The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off-and-on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamborees that were held at Moraine State Park - in 1973 and 1977.  The ramps' purpose was to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree was located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write-up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.

You can make out the abandoned ramps in front of the grove of trees. (Adam Prince, 1998)



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right turn from here.)

The benefit of these ramps was to handle the overflow of scouts and other visitors to Moraine State Park during the 1973 and 1977 Jamborees.  Moraine State Park was the eastern jamboree site in 1973 and hosted the entire Jamboree in 1977.  Over 28,000 scouts attended the 1977 jamboree.  So the need to handle the additional traffic is why the ramps were built.  This was due to the lack of direct access to the North Shore of the park from Interstate 79.  The nearby Exit 99 for US 422 is the closest to the park and provides direct access to the South Shore.  However, because of the configuration of the ramps and park service roads, direct access from I-79 or US 422 East was not possible.  The only direct access to the North Shore is via ramps from US 422 West. (See google map below)  The best access to the North Shore of Moraine State Park is via PA 488 three miles to the South via Exit 96.



Fortunately, there have been new developments in providing direct access to the North Shore of Moraine State Park from Interstate 79 and US 422 West.  In July 2017, construction began on a 15-month project that will build new ramps along US 422 East and Westbound to allow for direct access to the North Shore of the park via West Park Road.  The new US 422 interchange will allow I-79 traffic to use Exit 99 as the gateway for direct access to all points within Moraine State Park. This project will also include improvements to the Interstate 79/US 422 interchange (Exit 99).  The cost of the project is $4.5 million. (1)

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