Friday, March 29, 2013
The Future of Decay: The Abandoned Tunnels of the PA Turnpike
"Always look on the bright side of life" the crucified thief advised Brian as he was nailed to the cross. Even as America declines into impotence and decay, led by corrupt and incompetent leaders, engaged in hideously expensive wars at the behest of morons and torturing the natives, working with diligence to disenfranchise workers, destroy unions, and send jobs to China who have in the last decade executed the largest espionage program in history against us, there are still things to be proud of in America.
As the country declines and collapses the bright side is that infrastructure is abandoned and these fascinating and dangerous artifacts of our former civilization can be repurposed as tourist attractions. From old missile silos, to airports, from secret bases to abandoned tunnels, roads, factories and mills, America gains new potential theme parks and sources of revenue.
America may never rival the great centers of decay such as the former Soviet Union, but it can still hold its own and contribute our own uniquely American tradition of decay, corruption and degradation.
Forget "Tomorrowland" and look to the decaying past to see the future of America.
The first stop on our tour is the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Eastern Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was an early toll road in this country connecting Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and extending 360 miles across the state, east to west. The turnpike utilized seven abandoned railroad tunnels built in the 1880s. These were dual lane tunnels, one lane in each direction. As time went by, the single lane through the tunnels became a bottleneck and caused major congestion. Either new tunnels needed to be built, or the tunnels themselves bypassed. Of the 7 tunnels, 4 were expanded by building a parallel tunnel to allow for two lanes in each direction, and 3 tunnels were abandoned and a new section of the turnpike built to go around the obstacle rather than through it.
Like the WW2 German Submarine Basers in France these tunnels were too expensive to be demolished, but unlike the submarine bases, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has sold the tunnels and the connecting road and access right of way to a nature conservancy, the Southern Allegheny Conservancy, who has worked to preserve the area. It is working with "Pike2Bike" a group which is working to make part of the abandoned turnpike into a bike path.
See thie following video for a tour of the tunnels:
A web site on the abandoned turnpike:
The Pennsylvania Turnpike on Wikipedia
The Abandoned Turnpike on Wikipedia