The tunnel sets 640 feet below
the summit of Sideling Hill.
One of the many fire
towers found in the mountains of
atop Sideling Hill.
The elevation of this
fire tower is 2,301 feet.
Sideling Hill Summit -
Blue Ridge Mountain,
an elevation of 2,195 feet.
Highway sign on
U.S. Route 30, going over the top of Sideling Hill.
At a length of 6,782 feet,
the Sideling Hill tunnel
longest of the
original seven tunnels on
LENGTHS OF THE
ORIGINAL TURNPIKE TUNNELS*:
Allegheny Mountain Tunnel
Following the Sideling
Hill tunnel's permanent closure in 1968, the
tunnel became the
longest of the original
seven tunnels, still
Ray's Hill, is by contrast,
shortest of the
Total length, as
by the never-completed
South Pennsylvania Railroad:
Image courtesy of www.southpennrailroad.com
Date opened to
October 1, 1940
(opening of the turnpike)
(Library of Congress, 1940)
closed to traffic:
November 26, 1968
(opening of the bypass)
Southern Alleghenies Conservancy
Due to the slight crown in the center of the
tunnel, you cannot see light from either end once
you reach a certain
You cannot even see your
hand in front of your face.
The following photos were
taken of Sideling Hill Tunnel in March 2006.
(click to enlarge each photo)
Thank you to Chris from Pittsburgh, PA for sharing the above photos with us.
According to a published and very credible source, I have learned
the answer to the speculation as to whether or not the Sideling Hill
Tunnel was boarded up by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
following it's closure in 1968. Yes, both portals of the
Sideling Hill Tunnel were indeed boarded up by the P.T.C. between
the years of 1973 and 1988. The boards were placed at the
point on the inside of the tunnel portals where the rounded face of
the portal changed to the flat
In 1988, the boards were removed and the tunnel was opened for use
as part of a
test facility for the "rumble" strips that border
our highways today, among other uses, including sign reflectivity
tests deep within Sideling Hill's near-total darkness.
When the P.T.C. concluded their temporary usage of the tunnel, they
did NOT re-board the tunnel this time. Unfortunately, this
helped vandals easily gain access and break glass, graffiti the
walls and leave their
trash in the control rooms and vents at the
The control rooms
and tunnel are not in complete disrepair, but it would take quite a
bit of funding and work to get this place back into original working
condition. These projects have not been assigned a
Since no funding for further development is available currently, it
is unclear if the facilities will be cleaned and repaired, or if
they will be resealed to prevent further trespassing and vandalism.
The photograph shown above was taken in August 1970. The
Commission continued to perform maintenance on the Ray's Hill
and Sideling Hill tunnels, even following their closure in 1968.
The reasons for such maintenance really is not clear. Some
have speculated that the tunnels may have been under
consideration as a possible alternate "truck route".
Whether this is accurate or even feasible may never be known.
This photograph is one of very few I have found anywhere,
including the Internet, the Library of Congress, or in printed
form of Sideling Hill Tunnel, with the original name of the
tunnel visible and up-close.
You can find this photo, along with a lot of history and other
photos in the Mitch Dakelman/Neal Schorr book "Imagines of
America: The Pennsylvania Turnpike." This book is
available on Amazon.com. A link to it can be found on the
main page of this website.
Click on the
link to the left to visit the Pike-2-Bike Trail's website. They
offer up-to-date information on the trail availability as well as
guided tours and information about the trailheads and where to best
access the trail.
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 Sideling Hill Tunnel:
This page was created on:
September 1, 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 do not require permission to use. Some photographs and
images are taken from Internet sources who do not have contact
information posted. Should you believe that the usage of any photograph(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: .
Entire AbandonedTurnpike.com website is
Copyright © 2005 -
TURNPIKE INFORMATION SOURCE: