Listen: Pennsylvania, Interstate Highway Commission, Allegany Camp House discussed on Omnibus! With Ken Jennings and John Roderick
"This railroad right of way, including half a dozen like pretty great tunnels just sat fallow until the Pennsylvania turnpike folks came along and more or less bought it all for dollar. And so the Pennsylvania turnpike was ROY. Routed through these old railroad tunnels, and it had you know, like two birds with one stone. They solved this. They solved how they would get this expressway across the state. Well, that was all well and good until the post war. Explosion of automobile. Traffic the Pennsylvania turnpike opened in nineteen forty right before the war when people were still motoring around in their sotos are there. I don't know what their Tucker's there were people driving back there flavored flavors flavors. They're flavored which is the best part of the bird. I don't want to get my flavors all shaken up. But but by the mid fifties these railroad tunnels, which which were just one lane each going both ways, you know, one lane traffic headed west traffic Kennedy's. They were bottled not enough capacity. No, a lot of people wanted to go fishing or they wanted to go up to their allegany camp house. And so the turnpike people started realizing they needed to bypass some of these tunnels there were new technologies that allowed them to widen the roads. And this was also the beginning then of the interstate Highway Commission. So as the interstate system started to get plotted out a lot of these roads that already existed the Lincoln highway, for instance, route sixty six highway forty the Pennsylvania turnpike, Ohio eastern turnpike's, it was pretty generally understood that it didn't make sense to build an interstate right next to the Pennsylvania turnpike. We're not eighteen nineties railroad wars anymore. That's right. It seems like in a lot of cases this stuff should overlap, and in many cases, it does. If you're trying to follow the route of route sixty six you're gonna find that a lot of it is just I ten and other interstates that it seemed like in the most in most cases, this was the best route they'd already figured out the best route the difference being that route sixty six or highway forty went at grade. Level. They went through main streets. They were wear the motels were and the restaurants. They had stoplights traffic lights you'd have to stop for cross traffic every block in town. Right. Because the idea was that these were Lincoln highway was just a road. It was and people built whole towns around the Lincoln highway. It was a major advantage. If the highway went through your town and the era of motels the original motels were built around these at grade streets. But when you're building a freeway, you need to bypass those towns. And so for instance, the surviving sections of route sixty six are ones where you get off the freeway drive over to the little spur road. It's like a little belt actually goes through town. And yeah and often there will be signs on the highway begging you to take that lease come down and go to our Kentucky Fried Chicken. We'll take a little longer. But it'll be so worth your while. So how the interstates got built really affected the how? These little towns, economically and culturally, like did they survive did the road bypass them in such a way that that traffic was routed around them? And and never if there wasn't an exit at your town that this happened to a lot of little towns. The freeway just went by there wasn't a way off. And even if there was a way off, I guess within thirty or forty years, it would lead to a culture of. Walmart coming through town and planning it self by the highway obviously not in the old downtown and that's Sunday in the coffin for everybody. Downtown are you old enough to remember a time in your road tripping? When these little towns were still you would pull off the road and."