Commentary
8:21 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Into It: Ghost Highways Of America

America's highways are littered with loose ends. In Houston, relics of an incomplete inner city project loom on the east and west ends with nothing in-between. In Portland, ramps built to merge with the Mt. Hood Freeway simply drop off into an overgrown field.

In the 1930s, construction began on a highway that would cross Pennsylvania’s unruly terrain, following a path developed by the railroad magnate William Vanderbilt. But by the 60s, the route had bypassed a long segment and a narrow tunnel in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. The highway is now slowly being recaptured by nature.

Outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I-44 was rerouted to meet a new interchange. If you go there now, you'll find subdivision houses overlooking the lonely strip, as if they were terminals on a dilapidated airport runway.

Connecting Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, is the nearly three-mile-long Grandy Bridge. The second section was completed in 1956 and served automobiles until the late 90s. But it was shut down in 2008 after inspections discovered structural flaws.

With the public on its side, but a limited budget for renovations, the Grandy Bridge is like much of our road system: It can only sit and wait.