Just in time for your holiday travel, two service plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and two on the Ohio Turnpike have reopened.
The South Midway plaza on the eastbound turnpike at mile 147 in Bedford County (pictured) was the 14th Pennsylvania service plaza to be rebuilt since 2007, and the stately exterior style of the 72-year-old plaza was preserved.
“We’ve preserved the charm and appeal of the South Midway facility with a historically sensitive reconstruction. The facade looks identical to its ancestor. But the restored South Midway is more spacious with amenities such as a food court, more food selections, contemporary restroom facilities and some unique features that pay homage to its origins,” said turnpike chief operating officer Craig Shuey.
The plaza has a display of service plaza memorabilia; restored wood-and-copper fireplaces; photos of old service plazas; and large-screen monitors playing a video of the turnpike’s history (we’re guessing there’s not much about indictments). A piece of concrete from the original turnpike in 1940 is on display outside the main entrance.
Concessionaires are Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Steak ‘n Shake, Sbarro and a Sunoco A-Plus Mini-Mart.
Farther east, the Highspire Service Plaza at milepost 250 eastbound in Dauphin County reopened May 15. Both plazas had closed Sept. 4, 2012.
With the completion of South Midway and Highspire, only three service plazas have yet to be reconstructed: North Midway in Bedford County and Peter J. Camiel and Valley Forge both in Chester County. The plan is to close North Midway in September 2014 and to reopen it in May 2015. The Camiel service plaza will remain open during staged renovations which will begin this September and should be completed in December 2015. Reconstruction of the Valley Forge service plaza will be coordinated with a turnpike widening project in that area and is expected to begin in March 2014.
On the Ohio Turnpike, the twin plazas not far from the Pennsylvania state line finally reopened this week after 2 1/2 years of reconstruction. Completion was delayed when the original contractor, Pittsburgh-based Reginella Construction, was booted off the project for failure to perform, according to the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
The westbound Mahoning Valley and eastbound Glacier Hills plazas at mile 237 have Panera Bread restaurants and Sunoco A-Plus convenience stores, expanded restrooms including a family restroom, larger fueling areas, a truckers’ lounge with showers and washer-dryer and vending machines. Dairy Queen Grill and Chill is scheduled to open there next month.
The Gateway Clipper will christen the latest addition to its fleet, the Three Rivers Queen, at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the docks at Station Square. The boat is described as a 110-foot-long and 32-foot-wide all-steel classic paddle wheel-style passenger boat with three decks. It can accommodate 250 passengers for dinner or 338 for sightseeing and features a calliope.
@pgtraffic on Twitter
Like us at Pittsburgh On the Go on Facebook