Pennsylvania Roads - Old US 322
Old US 322
Heading west from State College on SR 3042. The first photo looks west on the new I-99/US 220/US 322 freeway, the last segment to be completed south of I-80 (other than the interchange there). A mountain of acid rock treatment rises in the background - more on that in a bit. The second photo is at Sellers Lane, which passes through a gap under that same freeway.
Continuing west, US 322 is normally the 28th Division Highway, but here it follows the old road instead. Here's another huge pile of rocks serving as acid rock treatment, shoring up I-99 instead of being piled on the slopes above. Two more captions and I'll explain.
I'd like to think Pennsylvania has a richer, less tattered history than this.
Continuing WB around another megaton of rock, coming right up on the formation you saw in the first photo on this page. As crews were constructing the Appalachian Thruway (I-99), they discovered that the rock was a lot more acidic than they expected. This led to delays in completing I-99 in the Port Matilda area until engineers could figure out how to remove the rock without leaching acid into the groundwater and how to build a road on the remaining rock while protecting it from the groundwater. Part of the solution was pouring as much good rock as could be found all over the place. Anywhere there's a slope near Bald Eagle Mountain, there's gravel all over it and a protective tarp beneath, hiding the worst of the acid from the light of day. Unfortunately, while this is a practical solution, it leaves some aesthetics to be desired.
Looking SB (west or even northwest in cardinal direction) on I-99/US 220 and WB on US 322. These slopes were done first with a darker rock, and are clearly finished (whereas not all of the other slopes are, with some tarp still showing through). The Port Matilda bypass half of new I-99 opened up to here a year or two before the descent into State College could be opened.
Up above I-99, old 322 appears to be under construction for a new four-lane highway. I don't think this is actually the case, but rather that with so much rock removed to put the highway below, additional construction was needed to stabilize the slope, regrade the road, add guiderail, etc. These photos face eastbound, which is the side that was closed.
Looking west down the start of a long downhill.
Looking west and east (SB and NB) along I-99. The pavement change is from the newest section of 99 to the Port Matilda bypass (second-newest).
The State College road meet stopped at Skytop, the summit of Bald Eagle Mountain along old 322 (and briefly US 220 as well, while I-99 was under construction). This is the scenery to the north and east from there, the other side of the mountain from I-99. The road in the first photo is Miles Hollow Rd.
Panoramic view of the northern valley.
A rare appearance of the PA font in a new shield for I-99, and another tall overpass as old US 322 WB and old US 220 SB come to the bottom of the hill near Port Matilda.
Shifting gears, photos start on Buttermilk Hill Rd. at old US 322 all the way west of Hannasville in Venango County, then turn west to an ancient town line sign that may date to when this was still US 322.
The Carlton Bridge was just south of old US 322 in Carlton. Built in 1888, it was the last multi-span truss in Pennsylvania built by the Columbia Bridge Works and reportedly the last original through truss in the western half of the state. Sadly, it was closed due to deterioration and replaced shortly after I visited in 2013, but there's a chance the trusses were saved in storage to be restored and brought out another day. These photos look south from the north shore of French Creek.
Back to old US 322 and continuing west.
Onto current US 322
Onto US 322 with I-99/US 220
Back to the State College Road Meet
Onto US 220 alone
US 322 on Jeff Kitsko's pahighways.com
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