Clear Ridge Tunnel Rays Hill Tunnel Sideling Hill Tunnel Contact Us ...

Laurel Hill Tunnel Statistics:


Large City

 Donegal, Pennsylvania;
bordered on the north 
and south sides by 
Forbes State Forest


Westmoreland and
Somerset counties

The county line for 
Westmoreland and
Somerset counties 
passes through 
Laurel Hill Tunnel.  


According to a credible 
source, there was once a 
sign inside the tunnel 
that acknowledged the 
location of the
county line.  

The sign was removed 
by a P.T.C. worker after 
the tunnel was closed.

The current owner of
the sign sent the photo
that appears two
frames to the left.


Looking out from within the
depths of Laurel Hill Tunnel. 
This is the only known
photograph that anyone has taken from inside the tunnel looking outward. 

This photo was taken in 2003,
shortly before the P.T.C. began
leasing the tunnel privately.

As with the photo to the left, this is the only known photo taken within the depths of Laurel Hill Tunnel. 

This photo was also taken in 2003, shortly before the P.T.C. began leasing the tunnel privately.

Who built the
Laurel Hill Tunnel

The South Penn Railroad bored the first 813 feet of the tunnel.  The boring began from east to west, in an area that was later completely destroyed when the Pennsylvania Turnpike crews moved the eastern portal of the railroad's tunnel back (westward) more than 1000 feet. 

In mid-October 1885, a work stoppage letter was written to inform S.P.R.R. workers that the tunnel would cease by the end of October 1885.


(Library of Congress)

Laurel Hill Tunnel, 1940


Street sign found in Hunting Valley, Ohio

Beginning in 1937, the 
P.T.C. continued the
work of the S.P.R.R. and 
completed the boring of Laurel Hill Tunnel.
(Thank you to Russell Love, for your assistance with the work start and ending dates on the tunnel boring, as well as the differences in eastern tunnel portals.)

Tunnel's Direction

formerly the route of
Interstates 70 and 76

(Library of Congress)

Laurel Hill Tunnel, 1940


Sideling Hill Tunnel
6,782 feet

   Allegheny Mountain Tunnel
6,070 feet

  Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel
5,326 feet

  Kittatinny Mountain Tunnel
4,727 feet

Laurel Hill Tunnel
4,541 feet

  Blue Mountain Tunnel
4,339 feet

  Ray's Hill Tunnel

3,532 feet

Total length of the 
tunnel, according to 
turnpike records:

4,541 feet


Laurel Hill was the 
fifth longest of the 
original seven 
turnpike tunnels.


Only Blue Mountain 
Tunnel and Ray's Hill 
Tunnel were shorter.

Total length of
the bypass route, 
according to 
turnpike records:  
3.1 miles

A road on Laurel Hill that leads eventually to the tunnel.  Look around the Net -- you'll find directions.  I opt not to share them on my website.

Work began on the 
Laurel Hill bypass route 
on September 6, 1962.  

Total length, as designed  
by the never-completed  
South Penn Railroad:  
5,389 feet

Image courtesy of 

From a postcard, 1950's, unknown portal


Date Opened
to Traffic


October 1, 1940
(opening of the turnpike)



Date Closed to Traffic:

October 30, 1964

(opening of the bypass)


The Laurel Ridge Hiking Trail
traverses the Laurel Hill Tunnel, 
as well as the bypass route. 

This is the only foot bridge 
over the eastern segment of the turnpike.  The direction of the 
trail is north-to-south.  Research 
on the Internet has shown that
multiple people have forgotten
another foot bridge.

There is a foot bridge near the Allegheny River overpass on the western segment of the turnpike
that allows golfers to cross from
one side to the other.


The hiking trail footbridge can be seen in the above aerial photograph.  It is the dark line that bisects the highway.

Current Ownership
of the Tunnel and
the Right-of-Way

Pennsylvania Turnpike

Western portal, Laurel Hill tunnel, 2003 ... closed off

Recently, an anonymous and credible source of information on the Laurel Hill Tunnel confirmed that the tunnel had indeed been boarded up following it's closure in 1964.

The western portal had been used for storing road salt up to 2003 -- thus it was not closed off.  The eastern portal though had been boarded up by the P.T.C. at the point inside the portal where the ceiling changes from the arch shape to the flat concrete roof.  Now, both portals are completely sealed off by metal doors that cover there entrances.

Visit our new page that attempts to uncover the current usage of the
Laurel Hill TunnelPlease note, the tunnel and right-of-way remain private property.  Visiting Laurel Hill is not advised.

(Library of Congress)

Laurel Hill Tunnel, 1940

Interior Lighting

Presently, this is unconfirmed
as no one can enter the 
tunnel from either portal.  

Credible sources say that 
(upon their legal visitations, when 
the P.T.C. allowed such visits)
can faintly see light 
from one portal of the 
tunnel to the other.  


A recent visitor to the 
tunnel shares his pictures 
and information.

Visit Ross Sieber's website -- he visited Laurel Hill in August 2005 -- his pictures are awesome! Eastern portal of Laurel Hill tunnel, 1990s

Laurel Hill Tunnel's
Current Usage

Visit our page that
attempts to uncover the current usage of the

Laurel Hill Tunnel


While visiting Laurel 
Hill sounds neat and 
makes for an adventure, 
please bear in mind that trespassing on the old right-of-way, the tunnel 
or any private property 
around the area could get you in trouble with the authorities.

Driving the Laurel Hill bypass ... note the deep cut into the mountain ... (photo found on the Internet) Coordinates of the
Western Portal:




Coordinates of the
Eastern Portal:



Eastern portal of Laurel Hill tunnel, 1999


For the other abandoned tunnel statistics pages, please select one
of the following links or click on e-mail us regarding any questions,
comments or updates you may have regarding Laurel Hill Tunnel:

Clear Ridge Tunnel Rays Hill Tunnel Sideling Hill Tunnel Contact Us ...


 Open Your Business to the World! $7.99 .COMS at Go Daddy

This page was created on:  July 20, 2005.  
Last updated on:  August 09, 2014 .

No portion of this page may be used or copied without prior permission from the .

The contents and descriptions on this page are the results of research by the webmaster of this site, as well as commentary and assistance offered by sources, some who may be quoted and some who wish to remain anonymous.  All photos are used with the consent of their owners/photographers whenever possible.  Some photos are in the public domain and some are taken from Internet sources who do not have contact information posted.  Should you believe that the usage of any photo(s) infringes on your rights, please contact the webmaster and either grant permission for usage (notation will be made to indicate permission granted and your name/website source) or request for the picture to be withdrawn.  All Library of Congress photos are in the public domain and/or used with permission of their owner.

Please report broken/dead links to: