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Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
Tunnel Adventure
Part II
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This is an on-line (photo) tour (and description of the 2002 Stephens’ Family Adventure) of a 12-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that has been abandoned. When the Turnpike opened in 1940 the four lanes of traffic narrowed to two lanes at each of seven tunnels. By the 1960's, 4 of the 7 tunnels on the original turnpike got a second tube built to accommodate heavier traffic. The other three were bypassed and abandoned. There are two bypassed sections. The first is a two mile stretch which includes bypassed Laurel Hill Tunnel (our 1999 Adventure), which straddles the Westmoreland-Somerset County line. It was bypassed in 1964. The second is a twelve mile stretch east of Breezewood, which is shown here. This stretch includes Sideling Hill and Ray's Hill Tunnels, and the old Cove Valley Service Plaza, and was bypassed in 1968. (Natale)

. . . . . Like their counterpart to the west, the Ray's Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels were part of the South Penn Railroad's initial efforts to establish a transportation link across Pennsylvania.

Rapidly increasing traffic volumes,  far surpassing anything anticipated by early Turnpike planners, soon made the two-lane tunnels obsolete and prompted consideration of by-passing or "double tunneling" the seven original tunnels. . . . . . After exhaustive studies, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission decided to construct new parallel tunnels at Blue Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain and Allegheny Mountain. The decision was made to by-pass the Ray's Hill, Sideling Hill and Laurel Hill tunnels.

By the early 1960's, the York, Pennsylvania engineering firm of Buchart-Horn was called upon to study the traffic bottleneck at the two tunnels and recommended a 13.1 mile bypass that included reconstruction and relocation of the Breezewood Interchange and construction of a new east-west service plaza (Sideling Hill). The by-pass replaced 13 miles of the original Turnpike, so it did not add significantly to the length of the superhighway.

The Sideling Hill By-pass, completed at a cost of $17,203,000, opened on November 26, 1968, sending both the Ray's Hill and Sideling Hill tunnels into retirement. Portions of the vacated highway and the tunnels themselves still exist today and are used by the Turnpike for testing and research. (L.S.Henry)

This is where our 2002 Pennsylvania Turnpike Adventure begins.

July 23, 2002
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The above pictures are from my digital camera.
There will be additional pictures posted when our 35mm pictures are processed.

In the meantime, please take a look at:

of our mutal adventure.



On horseback
Fort Outer Walls
Fort Cannon
Kids At Fort 1
Kids At Fort 2
Coop & Grandma

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