How is it that highway interchange technology has apparently not penetrated to this little patch of PA? How can it be that two massive interstate highways cross each other’s path WITHOUT some kind of cloverleaf exchange?
All I can figure to explain it is MASSIVE corruption among PA highway officials, and payoffs from the town business community. The city would shrink to a McDonald’s, a couple of gas stations and a truck stop, if the highway traffic were not FORCED to go through it.
Are there other Breezewoods out there I haven’t come across? Most of my driving has been in the Midwest and Northeast Corridor, and Breezewood is a unique phenomena in my driving experience.
Oh, and by the way, does anybody here have the misfortune to have to travel through there (or the area) frequently, and is there some little-known alternative route to bypass Breezewood?
Aw, come on. Breezewood has a certain charm. When we’d drive from Michigan to Virginia ever summer and winter when I was a kid, Breezewood is the exit at which we always got off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and headed south toward Lexington.
Man, all of those fast food joints and diners? It’s like a pocket of blessed, blessed ugly consumerism in the middle of a long, dreary drive.
That’s the drive I used to make when I lived in DC. You could stop just as easily if there were a cloverleaf between the two highways, and I could avoid the unbelieveable eyesore and permant traffic slowdown.
And look at the 2nd link in my OP; there’s plenty of other Dopers who despise Breezewood.
Let’s see. Went through Breezewood the first time in late 1971. Last went through in April 2002. Passed through there an average of 6 times per year. Some years more. So I’ve been there 200 times.
It’s certainly changed over the years. The traffic bottlenecks were much worse back in the 70’s/early 80’s, on holidays. IMHO.
The addition of many lanes has made a diff. in last 5 years or so.
Spent a night there during ice/snow storm 15 years ago. In motel from Hell.
I think that the average American appreciates it as a mid-point in their journey from the upper mid-West to Wash. DC, although DC may not be their ultimate goal. And, no matter what you might wish for in creative cooking, you at least today have every fast-food choice in US. Back in the 1970’s, you had slim pickin’s there.
As for the workers, you might think about the dreary small towns that would be within 10-20 miles of there, and remember that many a teenager or young adult might appreciated the steady income that the joints provide, year in and year out. NO lay-offs.
Instead of taking the Pennsylvania Turnpike, head toward Morgantown, WV. If you can get on I-68, you will find the speed limits are better, there’s typically much less road construction and traffic messes, and you don’t have to pay any tolls. Senator Robert Byrd has used his considerable pull in Congress to procure funds to put in some pretty good interstates in parts of West Virginia. Just be sure to steer clear of the ridgerunners and the revenuers.
There was actually a Washington Post article on this very subject around Thanksgiving last year, in which they explained why they never built a cloverleaf there. I don’t remember the reasons, but the article may be available online.
Here’s an article on Breezewood, which also simply writes off the lack of an interchange as a “mystery”.
I remember a Wall Street Journal article of a few years back, which I think alleged that there were two families which had essentially run Breezewood since the Turnpike was built, and had begun establishing it as a mid-point service stop back in the 1930s. It was they who had originally opposed any interchange which might bypass their empire. I think that hold has since broken up, but that just means that now there are dozens of owners of restaurants and gas stations with an interest in fighting tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
I, for one, found it an interesting place to stop for the spectacle of it all. Once.
Thanks for asking! It was a lot of fun. It turns out that the house where we stayed was more than just “on the edge of town,” it was practically out in the country in a hilly, forested area. There was a little ridge between breezewood/I-76 and the house, and we took a hike up the ridge to where we could hear the hum of the highways. At night, you could have seen Breezewood, but not really in the daytime. And the fall leaves looked great.