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Interstate 70 at Kammerer Construction Photos

A few weeks ago in response to my post about the early construction of Interstate 70 in Southwestern Pennsylvania, I received a handful of photos from Randy Metz of the construction of the highway at the Kammerer exit which is now Exit 31.  These photos which date from the mid-1950s show the conversion of an at grade intersection of then Alternate PA 71 and McIlvanie Road to an interchange. 

Alternate PA 71 was known as the "Express Highway" that gave Mid-Mon Valley towns a direct link to the Pennsylvania Turnpike in New Stanton.  This highway would be added to the Interstate Highway System as Interstate 70S in 1960 and changed to Interstate 70 in 1964.  When the four lane highway was originally built, it was built as a mix of interchanges and at-grade intersections.  These intersections were either replaced with overpasses or slowly converted to interchanges in the late 1950s.

Mr. Metz's family still resides and operates a farm nearby.  He was kind enough to share these photos that show the early history of one of Western Pennsylvania's busiest highways.

Image courtesy Randy Metz
This photo shows the construction of the overpass that carries McIlvanie Road over the highway.  What is now Exit 31 on Interstate 70 is just beginning to take place.  The Carlton Motel was already in business and was served via a driveway that was at-grade with the highway.  It also appears that Alternate 71 ended here temporarily.

The Carlton Motel was built by the Carl family and opened in 1953 and would expand from seven to 25 rooms by 1960. (1)

Image courtesy Randy Metz
The large tree in this photo was removed to make way for what would be the offramp from westbound I-70.  That again is the Carlton Motel in the background.  After the interchange was built, the motel's driveway in the first photo was moved to the westbound offramp.  When the motel added a restaurant in 1960,  the odd driveway off the exit ramp was removed.

Image courtesy Randy Metz
This color photos show some of the various dump trucks that were used in the highway's construction.  As a result of building the new highway, the Metz Family farm would be spilt in two as the state needed 26 acres of their property for the right of way.   The family did get a 7' x 7' tunnel under the highway connecting the split properties and allowing cattle and tractors to go from one side of the Interstate to the other.

cardcow.com
This old postcard shows the Carlton Motel and Restaurant along with Interstate 70 sometime in the 1960s.  This shows how substandard the Interstate highway was 50 years ago.  The center median was a 6 inch wide x 4 inch high raised curb.  In addition, it appears that the outside shoulders were not paved. 

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Comments

Malibu72 said…
A "turnpike" design, largely modeled after the first turnpike, the 1940 Pennsylvania, later I-76. These substandard roads, state of the art for their time, were grandfathered into the Interstate System. Worst features were the narrow median and lack of consistent shoulders, as well as abrupt on and off ramps, where stop signs were sometimes utilized.

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