Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission: celebrating 75 years
In 1940, the landscape of the United States was vastly different than today’s. The advent of the automobile lifestyle and the interstate highway system changed everything, and it all started with America’s first “superhighway”—the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On the 75th anniversary of this historic roadway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is taking a fond look at its past while looking ahead to new improvements and projects that will bring a brighter future to Pennsylvania commerce and commuters.
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Celebrating 75 Years
When the Pennsylvania Turnpike first opened, it changed the face of transportation and business capabilities for the region. “The first thing that comes to mind when you think about the PA turnpike is the truck traffic, the commerce we move through the Keystone state,” said PTC Chief Engineer Brad Heigel. “Regionally, the connection between Ohio and New Jersey really began with the Turnpike, and it continues to be a commerce pipeline from the Midwest to the Atlantic Seaboard—especially between New Stanton and Breezewood where we have I-70 designation. We have truck volumes in those areas that are well over 12 percent of the vehicles in that stretch.”
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But the Turnpike’s impact is not simply regional. “We were the first superhighway,” noted Heigel. “We preceded all the other interstate highways in the United States. A lot of the design criteria and design issues that Pennsylvania Turnpike faced and resolved as it was constructed became the basis of the interstate highway program as we know it across the nation.”
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