Skip to main content

Midway Service Plazas

The list can get quite lengthy.  The list of unique features the grandfather of modern highways in the United States has.   Numerous tunnels, abandoned tunnels and roadways in Bedford, Fulton and Westmoreland Counties, St. John's Church in New Baltimore, the stone faced colonial style service plazas and breathtaking scenery.  One set of service plazas located near the Bedford Interchange may be one of the most fascinating.  It is the Midway (North and South) Service Plazas.  The plazas are named "Midway" as they are located at what once was the halfway point of the original 160 mile toll road.  Midway South features a two-story colonial style building.  Midway North was a small one-story facility.  Midway South was rebuilt between 2012 and 2013, the Turnpike kept the old colonial design and stone faced exterior. In 2014, the North plaza was completely raised and rebuilt from the ground up as a more modern facility.  The new North Midway Service Plaza opened in May 2015.

The old North Midway Service Plaza in 2002.

What makes these service plazas more unique is that a tunnel underneath the Turnpike connects the two buildings.  This tunnel, now closed to travelers and the general public, is used for storage space.  The tunnel is no longer accessible at North Midway as the current restroom facilities are now above it.  The tunnels were in fact at one time open to the traveling public.  As late as the mid-sixties, you were still able to cross underneath the turnpike via the tunnel. (1) Below, John Bibber has included some photos of the tunnel.

The Interior of the Midway Service Tunnel.  (John Bibber)

Underneath the former entrance to the North Midway Plaza.  You can see the location of the original stairway.  (John Bibber)
 
This appears to be a current meeting facility or break room on the second floor of the South Midway Plaza.  (John Bibber)

Although both plazas - former homes of Esso Gas and Howard Johnson Restaurants - have undergone numerous modernization projects,  when pulling into the South Midway Plaza, the feel of the 1940's Turnpike still exists.  The quaint intimate facility combines history with the convenience and speed necessary for the modern day traveler.  In fact, not much in the outside cosmetics of the two-story South Plaza has changed when this photo of a young Mike Austing and his family was taken in the Summer of 1951.

(Mike Austing)

Site Navigation:
Sources & Links:
  • Historic PA Turnpike Service Plazas ---Interesting Pennsylvania
  • (1) Hoffman, Tom. 'Re: Midway Service Plazas Page Online.' Personal e-mail, July 20, 2002.
  • Mike Austing
  • John Bibber

d

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 152

Circumstance had me out in the Monterey Peninsula again this week.  Generally I try to take a route like California State Route 198 or ever County Route J1 to get across the Diablo Range but time had me in a slight bind.  That being the case I took the popular way across the Diablos on California State Route 152 via Pacheco Pass.  152 is one of infamy given it is really the primary route for truckers to get from I-5 west in San Joaquin Valley to US 101 in Salinas Valley.  After zig-zagging some accidents on/off California State Route 99 near Madera in the rural outskirts of the County bearing the same name I began my westbound trek on 152.




CA 152 is called the William Whitehurst Highway, at least it is west from CA 99.  The entire route of CA 152 in San Joaquin is an expressway aside from a small portion in the city of Los Banos.



The first junction on CA 152 is with CA 233 which is a small 4 mile highway that travels northeast to CA 99.






Next westbound CA 152 encounters the junction w…

The National Road - Ohio - Muskingum and Licking Counties

As it travels from Zanesville towards Columbus, US 40 goes through numerous small towns, changes from two to four lanes and back numerous times, but most importantly the old road keeps its rural charm.  Between Zanesville and Gratiot, there are four former alignments of the old road that can be found: just west of Zanesville, Mt. Sterling, Hopewell and Gratiot.  Most stretches are very short and can be easily recognized with names as "Old US 40", "Old National Road" or some combination of the two.

Zanesville:
Just west of US 40's interchange with Interstate 70 (Exit 152) runs an old alignment.

Mt. Sterling:
Another old alignment goes through this small Muskingum County village.
Hopewell:
Today, US 40 passes south of the community of Hopewell.  The old two lane road is known as Hopewell National Road.
Gratiot:
Old US 40 is known as Main Street in this tiny village of 200 or so residents.  The old highway at times seems forgotten through here.
Just west of Gratiot, US 40 …

Throwback Thursday - October 12, 2017

In this week's edition of Throwback Thursday, we travel back to December 2003 to the southern end of Interstate 99 in Bedford, Pennsylvania, where we can see button copy guide signage for US 30 and US 220 (US 220 runs concurrent with I-99 through this part of the Keystone State). Since I-99 was relatively new at the time, it feels like it was an afterthought.