As early as 1910, there were thoughts of converting an abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad right of way into a motorway. The idea of a turnpike to cross the Allegheny Mountains was supported by the trucking industry as well as the motoring public. The Pennsylvania Turnpike officially opened to traffic Oct. 1, 1940.

The new, mostly four-lane roadway was called America’s First Superhighway. It was in fact the first of its kind, and received nationwide acclaim as an engineering marvel.

Mark Berg is a former instructor for the AARP Driver Safety Program; email is

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