PA Turnpike History 

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An unbroken ribbon of concrete cutting through mountains and across valleys, bypassing towns. No stop signs, no intersections, no need to worry.

PA Turnpike history with timeline

The PA Turnpike was the first of its kind and received nationwide acclaim as an engineering marvel. It was touted as America’s First Superhighway when it opened on October 1, 1940, and was the national standard for superhighway design and engineering.

Today, the PA Turnpike stretches more than 550 miles – triple its original length. It continues its legacy of innovation in the ground-transportation industry and embraces modern-day technologies for faster response times, increased traffic flow, and safer trips for drivers.

Historic photograph of toll booth on PA turnpike

Interactive Timeline

Explore how the PA Turnpike has progressed over the decades.

Look into the Past

Image showing historical turnpike and current turnpike side by side

Then & Now

Explore the photo gallery to see the past and present of the PA Turnpike side-by-side.

See the Difference

Map graphic showing points of interest along turnpike route

Exit & Explore

Explore the interactive map of PA Turnpike milestones and points of interest.

Start Exploring

Through Eight Decades

1791-1936: Before there was a PA Turnpike

The 1940s

The 1950s

The 1960s

The 1970s

The 1980s

The 1990s

The 2000s

The 2010s

2020 and Beyond