Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Worst Highways

I-81: There's nothing particularly scenic about this highway in PA. Traveling south-to-north it begins in a broad, valley devoid of character. It stays there through the Harrisburg area, passing just far enough from towns like Carlisle and Harrisburg that one doesn't see any of those towns' character. It then splits from I-78 northeast of Harrisburg and becomes a highway that traverses the most colorless anthracite foothills one can imagine. In fairness, the highway passes through beautiful scenery in Virginia, but in that state the high way couldn't possible be any longer as it moves diagonally along the long, long spine of that large state. 

I-78: It's hard to believe scenery so ugly, so remote, and so inspired by the film Deliverance could exist so near Philadelphia. The trip between Harrisburg and when the highway mercifully ends at its junction with I-81 is essentially a time warp into an older, homelier America. By the way, one exit along that stretch is labeled "Grimes." Grimes? Are you kidding? 

I-83: I guess it's a highway that is somewhat necessary. After all, there's a virtual flood of commerce that must travel back and forth between Baltimore and Harrisburg. What, a highway with Baltimore as one terminus and Harrisburg as another? Please, the Interstate Highway System surely could have given this highway a more fitting final destination. Or, at least let I-78 carry the number from Harrisburg on down to Baltimore. The stretch of this road that travels through York County doesn't do much to boost Pennsylvania's scenic credentials. 

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