Pennsylvania Turnpike Bedford Reviews
America's First Long-Distance Superhighway May 25, 2012
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a toll highway carrying Interstate Highway I-76 across Pennsylvania. It connects Philadelphia, Harrisburg (state capital), and Pittsburgh and continues to the Ohio state line, length of 360 miles (579 km). There is also a northeast extension from eastern Pennsylvania to Wikles-Barre and Scranton. The Turnpike intersects with several major Interstates, including I-81 at Harrisburg, I-70 at Breezewood, I-376 at Monroeville, and I-95 at the New Jersey state line.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940 and had been inspired by the German Autobahn and limited access divided highway projects in the United States. It was the most ambitious American superhighway project to that time, running 160 miles on opening day. The turnpike has continue to be upgraded to newer highway design standards. The initial Turnpike route followed the graded right-of-way of the never completed South Pennsylvania Railroad. (Several tunnels bored for the railroad were incorporated into the highway.)
The Turnpike is a toll road. But, don't let that deter you from using it. It is the fastest route to many destinations, including Pittsburgh from the Mid-Atlantic region. A ticket is dispensed at the entrance and collected at the exit where the toll is paid. As an example, the toll from Breezewood to Monroeville (Pittsburgh exit) is $10.20 for a 105 mile distance. The Turnpike accepts E-Z Pass electronic toll collection for a discounted toll.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is famous for its Travel Plazas where food and gas may be found without exiting. (There are other food options in towns along the way, but you must pay a toll to exit, reenter, and then pay another toll at your destination.) The Service Plazas have been modernized over time, but a few of the vintage stone buildings still exist in service. (I've located this review at the classic Midway Service Plaza near Bedford.) These began as Howard Johnson's restaurants and in the 1950s and 1960s were an classic icon of the American road. Different brands of fast food are offered today.
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