Pennsylvania Turnpike, USA


PA-110–“Amerca’s Super Highway”
One of the Tunnels on Pennsylvania Turnpike
On the back:
PA100–One of the seven tunnels carrying the Turnpike beneath formicable mountains, six were inherited from the old rail project. The interior view of the Allegheny tunnel, near New Baltimore and the entrance to the Tuscarora is shown. Others at Laurel, Allegheny, Ray’s Hill, Sideling Hill, Tuscarora, Kittatinny, Blue Mountain.
c.1940
Publisher: Minsky Bros & Co., Publishing Division, Pittsburgh, PATuscarora.

Google Street View (Tuscarora tunnel entrance)
Google Street View(Allegheny tunnel interior).

During most of its first two decades the Pennsylvania Turnpike was promoted and considered by many as “The Crown Jewel” of the American highway system. The highway was spoken in magnificent terms and was touted as a modern example of safe, high speed, and scenic travel. However, soon after the birth of the Interstate system in 1956, the PA Turnpike would become outdated in comparison to the more modern Interstate
Gribblenation (more postcards)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike (Penna Turnpike or PA Turnpike) is a toll highway operated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A controlled-access highway, it runs for 360 miles (580 km) across the state. . . . During the 1930s the Pennsylvania Turnpike was designed to improve automobile transportation across the mountains of Pennsylvania, using seven tunnels built for the abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1880s. The road opened on October 1, 1940, between Irwin and Carlisle. It was one of the earlier long-distance limited-access highways in the United States, and served as a precedent for additional limited-access toll roads and the Interstate Highway System. . . . The Pennsylvania Turnpike incorporates several major bridges and tunnels along its route. Four tunnels cross central Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains. The 6,070-foot (1,850 m) Allegheny Mountain Tunnel passes under Allegheny Mountain in Somerset County. The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel runs beneath Tuscarora Mountain (at the border of Huntingdon and Franklin counties), and is 5,236 feet (1,596 m) long.
Wikipedia.

“Rays Hill Tunnel in Fulton County, Pennsylvania during construction of the tunnel in the 1880s for the Southern Pennsylvania Railroad. This later became a tunnel for the Pennsylvania Turnpike”, 1880s (from Wikimedia Commons).

William H. Vanderbilt proposed an idea to build a railroad from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh that would be under his control, and not that of the Pennsylvania Railroad. After the surveying was complete, work began on a two-track roadbed with nine tunnels. Excavation began on the tunnels in early 1884. Thousands of workers dug the tunnels for $1.25 for a 10 hour day. The construction continued through 1884 and 1885; however, trouble for the project was starting in New York. Banker J. Pierpont Morgan won a seat on the board of Vanderbilt’s New York City & Hudson River Railroad. Morgan with the President of the NYC&HRRR sold the right-of-way to George B. Roberts, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Work stopped immediately. A total of $10 million had been spent and 26 workers lost their lives. The unfinished project came to be known as “Vanderbilt’s Folly.”
. . .
The twentieth century came and with it a new form of transportation: the automobile. Pennsylvania was one of the first states to establish a highway department. In late 1934, an employee with the State Planning Board named Victor Lecoq and William Sutherland of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association proposed the idea of building a toll highway utilizing the old roadbed and tunnels left behind.
Pennsylvania Highways

The reports of the survey crews were favorable, and in 1937 the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was established with Walter A. Jones of Pittsburgh named the first commission chairman. The Turnpike Commission was given authorization to construct a 160-mile long 4-lane limited access superhighway through the Allegheny Mountains from Irwin (just east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County) to Carlisle (just west of Harrisburg in Cumberland County). This highway was the first of its kind in the United States. Nobody had ever seen a road like this before, except at the General Motors Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. Design features for the new road were:

Four 12-foot wide concrete traffic lanes – two in each direction
10 foot wide median strip and 10 foot wide berms
3 percent maximum grades (normal grades for roads through the mountains were 6-12 percent)
Maximum curvature of 6 degrees (most curves were 3-4 degrees)
Limited access design with 1,200 foot long entrance and exit lanes
Ten service plazas located along the right-of-way for traveler convenience
No cross streets, traffic signals, driveways or railroad grade crossings
The Pensylvania Trunpike: a history

The PA Turnpike officially entered service October 1, 1940 and the new concepts of superhighway design made it an engineering marvel. The new, mostly four-lane roadway was referred to as “America’s First Superhighway.” Planners predicted that 1.3 million vehicles would use the PA Turnpike each year, but early usage exceeded predictions with 2.4 million vehicles traveling the PA Turnpike annually. Sometimes, as many as 10,000 vehicles per day were recorded. When the PA Turnpike opened, it was just 160 miles long stretching from Carlisle to Irwin. It included two-lane tunnels, but the rapidly increasing traffic volumes soon made the two-lane tunnels obsolete and prompted consideration of by-passing or “double tunneling” the seven original tunnels. In addition to reducing travel time between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg by three hours, the PA Turnpike created an economic boom to areas along its path.
Penna Turnpike

Axenstrasse, Switerland


Galleries an der Axenstrasse mit Blick auf Vierwaldstättersee u. Brisenstock
[Galleries (the open bits on the side) along the Axenstrasse with views of Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) & Brisenstock (the mountain)]
c.1910
Publisher: E. Goetz, Lucerne

Google Street View.

The engineer, Landamman (cantonal council’s president) of Uri, and Federal Councillor of State Karl Emanuel Müller (1804–1869) initiated the first road for horse-drawn carriages. Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. The name of the Axenstrasse refers to one particular part of the mountains the Axenstrasse circumvents and traverses, the 600 m (2,000 ft) high, vertical rock between Flüelen and Sisikon, actually a farmed meadow terrace (Ober Axen and Unter Axen) right below the much higher Rophaien (2,078 m (6,818 ft)). The route, especially in the part south of Sisikon, involves many open passages with rock galleries and numerous openings in the west tunnel walls viewing Urnersee as a result of the tunnel blasting through the calcareous rock. The road costs were 842,000 francs in 1865, half of which was paid for by the federal government of Switzerland. Between 1937 and 1939, the Axenstrasse was altered to suit modern traffic in lieu of horse-drawn carriages, and a lane in each direction for road traffic was paved. Many sections of the old Axenstrasse were also closed to automotive traffic to serve as hiking trails
Wikipedia.

The road was built along steep cliffs on the east side of Lake Lucerne, weaving through many rock fall galleries and tunnels along its route. Adverse weather conditions are common. Ice and snow can be on the way. Upon completion in 1865, the Axenstrasse was the first way to get to Uri that did not involve navigating Lake Lucerne. The route between the Axen Mountain and Flüelen existed in 1776 as the Landstrasse (country road). Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. It was named the Axenstrasse because the road is located along the Axen Mountain.
Dangerous Roads


Axenstrasse mit Bristenstock
[Bristenstock is the mountain]
1900s
Publisher: Photoblob Co, Zurich