Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ten Lonesome Miles: The Abandoned PA Turnpike

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Once a turnpike, now Mecca to road geeks.

This stretch of the 'Pike was abandoned in 1968, after the Department of Highways bypassed it to alleviate traffic problems. Much of the turnpike is barely recognizable as a former major highway; the top level of pavement is gone in many places, and the paint has disappeared. While the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy (SAC) bought the highway in 2001 for a single dollar, it hasn't done much with the site, as funding has been hard to obtain.

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After walking for a little while, we came upon this tiny, well-paved lane. Of course, this isn't original -- it was paved in the '80s as a Safety Testing and Research (STAR) facility.

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One of the first rumble strips.

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There's a small overpass near Ray's Hill tunnel.

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Ray's Hill, the shortest accessible tunnel at 3,500 feet long.

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It was cold in the tunnel, enough that we could see our breath.

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There was a ventilation room on either end of the tunnel. These are from the far end of the tunnel, where the door was open.

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Finally, our favorite bit of graffiti from the trip. "Only wissy ride bike through here."

We would've loved to have seen the entire abandoned PA turnpike, but neither of us had the energy to walk 20 miles in a single day. Maybe some day we'll come back -- with bikes -- and ride it all.

For more info on the Turnpike, Ray Plazek has an excellent FAQ and some good pictures as well. Ross Sieber has an incredible photoset, exploring seemingly every angle the abandoned turnpike has to offer.

7 comments:

Dave said...

The Abandoned Turnpike is a rare gem in an otherwise bland stretch of Pennsylvania. Glad to see the word is finally beginning to spread! Great pics, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article about the abandoned turnpike
http://www.prea.com/pennlines/February05.pdf

Mr. Blue said...

I just got back from Ray's Hill 2 days ago. I haven't written a post yet but I put the pix up in my gallery.

I did Ray's on foot, but will certainly go back to do a bike ride, get some more pics and do sideling hill too.

http://gallery.axmx.net/main.php?g2_itemId=495

Mr. Blue said...

Hey,
just finished the whole trip from PA30 to the cove valley pad and back. I got a youtube video of rays hill exploration... enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfp-s1FO4Uk

Al Ebaster said...

Blue --
SWEET video! I had no idea all that stuff was sitting right on top of Ray's Hill Tunnel.

Funny how, no matter how illogical it might be, you'll find a broken toilet at just about any abandoned location.

ry said...

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Emma said...

I have been to both rays tunnel and sideling hill tunnel. They are both so fascinating . I have hiked to the sideling hill tunnel at night. scariest and stupidest thing i have ever done!! there was something in the tunnel that was making quite a bit of noise, not to mention the rather strong wind that comes from the tunnel. Makes it all very creep especially at night! i only live a short distance from the tunnels so i have been there a couple times. Never gets old!

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About ForgottenPA

Created by Al Ebaster in 2007 after a trip to Centralia, ForgottenPA has become one of Pennsylvania's most popular urban-exploration websites. Brian is our photographer, and we're happy to have Ethan Smith, aka Bluecapriethan in the comment sections, on board as an author and photographer as well.

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