Ray's Hill Tunnel

Ray's Hill Tunnel, western portal, 1980.  Photo by M. Dakelman

Shortest of the original seven tunnels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Length:  3,532 feet

One of three tunnels abandoned by the turnpike in 1964 and 1968

Former east-west route of Interstate 76

Located east of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, near Interstate 70

Tunnel boring work started by the South Penn Railroad

Operation began with the opening of the turnpike in 1940

Only tunnel on the turnpike that featured exhaust fans at one portal

Eastern portal of the tunnel does not have exhaust fans

Sits about five miles west of the abandoned Sideling Hill Tunnel

Four lanes of traffic narrowed to two at the tunnel's entrances

Single lanes of traffic in the tunnel led to many traffic jams by the early 1960's

Bypassing the tunnel was determined to be a better alternative to twinning the tunnel

Closed to traffic in 1968 when the bypass route opened

Still maintained, lit, and guarded until 1973

Tunnel portals were boarded up until 1988

Roadway west of the tunnel was used to develop and test the sonic nap alert pattern ("rumble strips") now used on many U.S. highways

Light is visible from portal to portal - no interior lighting since it's closure in 1973

Since October 2001, property of the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy

Engineers deem the tunnel safe for passage, without fear of cave-ins

Former lettering that spelled out the tunnel's name was made of stainless steel

Open to the public for visitation; walking and bicycling is permitted

No motorized vehicles are allowed in the tunnel or anywhere on the abandoned roadway

Forklifts were used extensively in the contruction and transport of materials for the tunnel.


Videos About Ray's Hill Tunnel:

Ray's Hill shown at 1:50 minutes