Pennsylvania Turnpike – One of the best roads in America?

Forbes has a list of the best driving roads in America. I figured this list would feature mostly roads out west with their long scenic drives by the Pacific or through the desert. I figured no way the east gets mentioned because of all the congestion found here. Little did I expect the Pennsylvania Turnpike being listed as a being a favorite by anyone.

Ed T. Welburn

Vice President, Global Design, General Motors

Since it opened in 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, America’s first superhighway, has captured the imagination of American motorists. Interstate 76 is the route I take when returning to Detroit from my hometown of Philadelphia. The stretch just west of the Breezewood exit, as you ascend through the Allegheny Mountains, is spectacular. It’s wide (three lanes), has great curves, has some degree of banking, many switchbacks and is all uphill.

Maybe it’s because my view is not based on the scenic portions in the western part of the state – my view is based on the I-276 portion that skirts Philadelphia that is marred with traffic and construction. Penndot has been working on this stretch in one way or another for well over 10 years.

As for the scenery west of Philadelphia, it’s boring – if it weren’t for the New Jersey Turnpike, it would be the worst drive in the east. Scenery?   Three Mile Island is the one everyone will point out.   Yes some nice mountains but they whip by at 75 MPH.   There are better ways to see the mountains in this state.

As for fun driving, I know the stretch that Welburn mentions, and it is pretty cool, but it’s about 10 miles long – that’s not enough to explain the rest of the 350 or so mile stretch between New Jersey and Ohio.

6 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Turnpike – One of the best roads in America?

  1. Yea it sucks, nothing like taking a toll ticket at the west, going 5 miles and waiting in construction delay for 2 plus hours with no exit. 250 miles later the toll authorities want $13 for the privledge, I told them “you should pay me.”

  2. “Penndot has been working on this stretch in one way or another for well over 10 years.”

    Small point of correction – PennDot doesn’t touch the Turnpike w/ a 100-mile pole; all maintenance/construction is done or supervised by the Turnpike itself.

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