Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Abandoned Turnpike Stretch Near Johnstown Becomes a Bike Path

I assume, most people reading this blog know about the 335 mile long, "Great Allegheny Passage", which almost fully links Pittsburgh and Washington DC.

Much less known is an abandoned 13 mile section of the PA turnpike 

The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike hasn’t seen car traffic since 1968 – but it’s experiencing new life as a pike-to-bike trail. The 13-mile stretch of road runs parallel to the modern turnpike, from Breezewood stretching east, and has a fascinating history as “America’s Only Abandoned Superhighway.”

Officially the road isn’t open, and ATVs, dirt bikes, and other motorized vehicles are prohibited. But unofficially, hundreds of cyclists have discovered it. The four-lane road is mostly level, so beginners and experts alike can use it at their own risk. Helmets and flashlights are strongly encouraged – the abandoned turnpike features two unlighted tunnels, Ray’s Hill Tunnel (2/3-mile) and Sidling Hill Tunnel (1.2 miles).

“While you ride there are no signs of modern civilization. Grass and weeds grow through the cracks of the pavement and trees grow in the median. What you see is very familiar and very wrong,” says Murray Schrotenboer, chairman of Pike 2 Bike, a group that promotes the trail. “You are on a four lane superhighway, but the pavement is broken and the forest crushes in on both sides, then you get to the tunnels. Dark for 46 years, they are a wonder. This is unlike any other ride you will ever do.”
Image from Pike2Bike website

Only two lanes wide in each direction and obsolete almost from its birth - it's been attracting bike riders and hikers for years. It also was used in the post apocalyptic move, "The Road".

Plans are now moving along to turn the stretch into a legal bike path and tourist attraction.

Red the full post here- which includes more links.

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