Photos from the Pennsylvania Turnpike “Pike 2 Bike” trail – 6/13/09.

 

The turnpike has a series of tunnels to get through the mountains.  Originally they were only 2 lanes, which created bottlenecks.  In the 1960s Several tunnels were doubled up (second tunnel bored).  But 2 tunnels were bypassed in 1968 with a completely new roadway, leaving the 2 tunnels, plus over 10 miles of road and a “service area” abandoned.

 

After closing this section of road, it was used for safety testing (reflectors, rumble strips, etc),  Then in 2001 it became a bike trail.

 

I parked at one end and visited the first tunnel, then drove to the other end to see the second tunnel.

 

 

After walking about a mile, I’m approaching the first tunnel, known as Ray’s Hill.  I walked this tunnel from end to end – 3,532 feet.  Very dark and creepy and damp.  You can barely see from one end to the other.  After walking about 10 minutes, I thought I was getting close to the other side, but when I looked back, I was still closer to the end where I entered.  There were people talking at the other end, and the echoes were very creepy.

 

 

At the top is the ventilation room – I did not go up there.

 

 

The pictures do not do these tunnels any justice.  In photos, they just look a little bigger than a garage door.  They are waaaaay bigger than that.

 

 

 

Recessed lighting – all broken.

 

Asyou can see, you really can’t take any good pics from inside.

 

Outside the other end.

 

Standing on the median.  It was nothing more than a 3 foot grassy divider.

 

Don’t try this on I-95.

 

 

 

An old bridge.

 

They even engraved the PTC logo.  (Pa Turnpike Commission).  They don’t do that these days.

 

Old light pole by the bridge.

 

This is a stretch that they re-paved in the 80s to test new kinds of reflectors and rumble strips.  The “lanes” are only about 5 feet wide.

 

After driving to the other end, I found a much better parking area – right on the road itself.

There are jersey barriers (below) so you can’t drive beyond this little parking area.

 

Food & Gas next right! 

 

Parking lot of the former “service plaza”.  The grove of trees in the middle of the photo is where the Howard Johnson’s restaurant stood.

Below is what the building would have looked like – this is a still-open one that I stopped at on the way home.  Ho-Jo’s is now Roy Rogers.

 

This is the second, and much longer tunnel, known as Sideling Hill.

It is 6,782 feet (1.3 miles) long – you can not see from one end to the other, and you can not see either end when you are halfway through – complete darkness.

I did not walk through this one – not because of fear (there was a family with little kids that had just gone through), but because it was getting late.