Laurel Hill Tunnel

Laurel Hill Tunnel

Laurel Hill Tunnel is one of three original Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels which were abandoned (this one in 1964) after two massive realignment projects.

The Laurel Hill Tunnel was bored under the border between Westmoreland and Somerset Counties. The others, located further east, were the Sideling Hill (Fulton County) and Rays Hill Tunnels (under the border of Fulton and Bedford Counties). The reason for abandonment was because it was thought to be less expensive to realign the Turnpike rather than to bore a second tube for four lane traffic.

From the Turnpike's opening in 1940 until the realignment projects, the tunnels were bottlenecks due to reduced speeds with opposing traffic in the same tubes. Four other tunnels on the Turnpike - Allegheny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, and Blue Mountain - each had a second tube bored, as it was determined in these instances to be the less expensive option. All of the original tunnels were part of the never-completed South Pennsylvania Railroad system which history has dubbed "Vanderbilt's Folly."

Laurel Hill Tunnel is 4541 feet (1384 meters) long. Its western portal is marginally visible from the current eastbound turnpike roadway.

Unlike the Sideling Hill and Rays Hill Tunnels, the Laurel Hill Tunnel is not on the bypassed section commonly known as the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the property is still owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. In addition, the tunnel is not open to the public. It is routinely patrolled by the Pennsylvania State Police, who strictly enforce "no trespassing" signs. Though the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will not confirm this, it is believed that the current usage of the tunnel is for Chip Ganassi Racing, where it is being used as a massive wind tunnel for their NASCAR and IndyCar programs. Visitors to the eastern portal have confirmed seeing Ganassi's IndyCar and NASCAR haulers, equipment and supplies. [ citeweb | url = | title = CUP: The Mystery of the Secret Laurel Hill Tunnel | publisher = | date = 14 December 2007 | accessdate = 2007-12-16] [ [ Laurel Hill Tunnel | Technology | Racecar Engineering ] ]

The eastern portal is located at coordinates coord|40|5|46.78|N|79|13|7.67|W|type:landmark, and the western portal is located at coordinates coord|40|6|8.72|N|79|13|59.26|W|type:landmark.


External links

* [ Gribblenation's page about Laurel Hill Tunnel]
* [ SeptemWiki about Laurel Hill tunnel]
* [,M1 Patent for Chip Ganassi Racing and what they use it for.]

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