Sideling Hill Tunnel Statistics:

 

Location/
Nearest city


Breezewood,
Pennsylvania

 

Tunnel Elevation:

approximately
1,277 feet
--------------------------

The tunnel sets 640 feet below
the summit of Sideling Hill.

--------------------------

One of the many fire
towers found in the mountains of
Pennsylvania sits
atop Sideling Hill.  

The elevation of this 
fire tower is 2,301 feet.


There signs appear throughout PA ... Sideling Hill Summit Marker

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.

County:

Fulton County,
Pennsylvania

At a length of 6,782 feet, 
the Sideling Hill tunnel

was the longest of the 
original seven tunnels on 
the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 

 

Ross Sieber's photo galleries ... he ventured deep into the heart of Sideling Hill

 

LENGTHS OF THE 
SEVEN ORIGINAL TURNPIKE TUNNELS
*:


 
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

 

 

Following the Sideling 
Hill tunnel's permanent closure in 1968, the Allegheny Mountain 
tunnel became the 
longest of the original 
seven tunnels, still
in operation. 

 Sideling Hill - 1955


Sideling Hill's 
counterpart tunnel, 
Ray's Hill, is by contrast,
the shortest of the 
original tunnels.  

 

Total length, as designed  
by the never-completed  
South Pennsylvania Railroad: 
  

 

6,662 feet

 



Image courtesy of www.southpennrailroad.com 

Date opened to traffic:

October 1, 1940
(opening of the turnpike)


Library of Congress photo - Sideling Hill in 1940, before opening to the public
(Library of Congress, 1940)
 

Date closed to traffic:

November 26, 1968
(opening of the bypass)




Current Ownership:

Southern Alleghenies Conservancy


Visitation Permitted?

YES!

        


Interior Lighting
:

"Zoyks!  Scooby!  It sure is dark in here!" "Zoyks!  Scooby!  It sure is dark in here!"

NONE.

Due to the slight crown in the center of the tunnel, you cannot see light from either end once 
you reach a certain point.

  


You cannot even see your 
hand in front of your face.

"Zoyks!  Scooby!  It sure is dark in here!"      "Zoyks!  Scooby!  It sure is dark in here!"

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 concrete roof.

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 tunnel's portals. 

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 personal budget.  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 Pennsylvania Turnpike 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:

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

 

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This page was created on:  September 1, 2005.  
Last updated on:  August 09, 2014.

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* PA TURNPIKE INFORMATION SOURCE:
http://www.paturnpike.com/tools/newsletters/winter2000/page03.htm