Skip to main content

Lehigh Tunnels Twin Tubing 1989-1991

On April 1, 1957, the 47 of the remaining 73 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension opened to traffic.  Included in the new highway was the 4,461 foot Lehigh Tunnel, a two lane tube through the Blue Mountain.  However by 1970, concerns over the levels of traffic through the 13 year old tunnel were growing.  Throughout the 1960's the Turnpike either twinned or bypassed the seven tunnels on the mainline system.  For over a decade, various proposals were introduced but tight economic times did not allow for proactive construction.  Finally, in 1985, Act 61 authorized new funding for the Pennsylvania Turnpike System.  The legislation approved funding for the twinning of the Lehigh Tunnels. Studies began almost immediately and construction began early in 1989.  Construction would last for nearly two and a half years, ending with the opening of the new facility on November 22, 1991.
 
Throughout the 32 months of construction, Bill Symons took photographs of the progress made.  He begins with an untouched south portal in 1989 to the tunnels a few weeks before opening in the fall of 1991. 

South Portal: 
Excavation work can be seen on this 1989 shot approaching the southern portal of the Lehigh Tunnel. (Bill Symons)
If you were heading northbound on PA 9 in 1989, you would not see much of any sign of construction work entering the tunnel.  This photo gives an excellent perspective of how the highway would narrow upon entering the tunnel. (Bill Symons)

Here is what the completed twin tubes look like nearly 20 years later.  (Doug Kerr, April 2007)

 North Portal:


Be sure to notice the change in the hillside from this photo in 1989 and the following two.  Excavation work has begun and the concrete superstructure is beginning to take form. (Bill Symons)

Substantial progress can be seen by the Autumn of 1990.  A wide double yellow line and guard rail is all that separates the opposite direction of traffic entering and exiting the tunnel. (Bill Symons)

The tunnel is near completion in this Fall 1991 photo.  The hillside has been landscaped and a cement slope and retaining wall has been built.  A temporary concrete barrier has also been placed to divide the then current north and southbound traffic.

Site Navigation:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car