How do highway rest stop employees get to work?

Well terrific… they use automobiles. But is there some “backdoor access” for the guys that sell fries and girls that pump gas if they live less than a mile from the place, or do they need to jump onto the Massachusetts Turnpike and travel 11 miles, do a U-turn off an exit, then drive to work only to do the same thing at the end of their shift?

Unemployed and very curoius, MA.


There are service roads.

If you look at this Google Maps page, you’ll see the employee access for the Sideling Hill rest area on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Mountain House Rd.) If you zoom in, you’ll see that the employee parking area there is fenced off from the public areas of the Turnpike, so people can’t sneak on / off without paying.

There’s a Burger King on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that I occasionally frequent (legally) without getting on the Turnpike. I take the service road to a parking lot that the employees use and walk into the Burger King from there. There’s a cyclone fence between that parking lot and the regular one with a walk-through opening.

Apropos of nothing, one of the more interesting little-known tourist attractions is within shouting distance of the Sideling Hill service plaza.

In the early 1960s the Turnpike Commission took steps to remedy the backups that occurred at the tunnels, which were single-tubes with two-way traffic at that time. They doubled all the tunnels except for 3, which were bypassed. If you go south on that map you’ll find something labeled the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. Starting at Breezewood and ending at the westbound lanes just past the Sideling Hill rest stop, there is a 13-mile stretch of road that is available for hiking and biking, with two of the abandoned tunnels along its length (Sideling Hill and Rays Hill). Sideling Hill service plaza was built to replace Cove Valley, which no longer exists although the parking area is still along the abandoned roadway.

Like I said, apropos of nothing. Still, the history of the Turnpike is actually quite fascinating, and as a roadgeek I never miss the chance to interest others in the subject.

So I scrolled around a bit, looking at the abandoned turnpike.

Can anyone tell me what the heck is going on at Breezewood? I’d vaguely heard of it as a gap in the Intersatate, and I thought maybe they’d just never finished converting a stretch of arterial road to Interstate standard, and then it had accreted gas stations and stuff.

Instead, you branch leftwards off the Turnpike onto another Interstate, start to follow the abandoned Turnpike route, hang a left off the abandoned route, turn left onto an arterial road, turn left again after a kilometre or so onto a new stretch of Interstate, pass under both the Interstate you arrived on and the Turnpike you left in the dim mist of time, then continue south.

Can you guys no longer afford right-hand exits, or what? :slight_smile:

The Pennsylvania Turnpike does not have a direct connection to I-70 at Breezewood. It has concurrency from New Stanton to the Breezewood exit, but then you must go into Breezewood and travel the surface road for about a half-mile to continue.

Bear in mind that the original Turnpike was much closer to Breezewood, so it wasn’t a big deal back then. but now it’s a tremendous hassle. You should see the traffic snarls there. And the businesses in Breezewood like it that way because they make serious money from it, so they resist any proposal to directly connect I-70 to the Turnpike.

There’s another famous gap in the IHS- I-95 in New Jersey. Once again you have to travel some surface streets to continue. That was due to a political issue: the people successfully fought tooth-and-nail to kill off the planned Somerset Freeway, so it remains that way. However, they are taking steps to remedy the situation with a direct connection to the Turnpike near Philadelphia, bypassing the gap. It won’t be long until Jersey feels the pain from that. But hey, they did it to themselves.

Thank you Sevenwood! Sounds like it makes perfect sense. Question well answered.


Except now I want as Whopper :wink:

Interesting info about the abandoned turnpike, Airman. If I’d known that when I lived there, I might have loaded up my bike and gone exploring.

There’s a similar situation in Carlisle, PA. The Turnpike (I-76) crosses I-81, but there’s no interchange. You have to drive about a mile on surface streets to get from one to the other.

I used to work at a business on that mile, across the street from a huge truckstop. Rumor was that the owner had enough political clout to stop an interchange and force all the truck traffic[sup]*[/sup] to go past his business.

Carlisle may be the trucking capital of the country. There are several huge trucking companies there. They repaved that mile while I was working there. To stand up to the trucks, they made it 14-inch-thick concrete.

I know. I live there. :slight_smile:

Oh, and the reason why Breezewood is so famous is because that surface street is considered part of I-70, meaning that I-70 is the only Interstate with permanent traffic lights.

The Natick stop on the MA-TPK has an unmarked entrance on Route 27 between Route 30 and Route 9. I use it when I go to the RMV (DMV) at that plaza. I assume all the other stops do as well. Employees use it. Delivery trucks use it. It has a gate one can walk through. There’s a locked vehicle gate, which I sometime see open.

The whole “abandoned highway/tunnels” thing is kind of creepy to me. I’ve seen pics of the area on several websites and it just evokes an apocalyptic feeling…Mad Max and such. Things just abandoned, unused. It’s fascinating and ooky-feeling at the same time.

Here’s some good oogie for you then, jayjayCincinnati’s Abandoned Subway.

That was a really interesting way to spend 15 minutes. Thank you, Ellen!

There are others:

Apparently this was noticed by the producers of the film “The Road” as well, because at least one scene of the movie (seen in the trailer) was filmed at one of the abandoned Turnpike tunnels.

You have to pay to use rest stops in Pennsylvania?

No, you have to pay to get off the Turnpike.

If someone can access an employee entrance with their car they can get off without paying the toll, so employees typically have to park on the other side of a barrier and walk through an access gate to keep people from sneaking out.