I-80's Exit 13- A Gateway to Progress
By Joel Hammond
Interstate 80 is a roadway that is part of the National Highway plan. The divided highway runs from New York to San Francisco. Construction on this highway first began in Pennsylvania 1961. This was after several years of planning, surveying, obtaining funding, and acquiring right-of-way approval for the roadway.
The first prelimary work in the form of surveying and engineering in Brookville was started on April 13, 1961. The general contractor, Putman and Green of Philipsburgh, moved in and set up an office during the week of June 20, 1961. The state set up a job office at the same time. Actual construction on the 8.5 mile section of the "Keystone Shortway" started the week of July 27, 1961.
The construction of the Interstate affected the residents of the Brookville area in many different ways. Many area residents were employed on a temporary basis to help in the construction process hauling materials to and from the job site, and to work as laborers. Another way that residents were affected was that several properties had to be condemned in order to secure the right-of-way for the highway.
Finally, after many months, section three of the "Keystone Shortway" was scheduled for completion. The dedication ceremonies were set for 12 o'clock noon on Saturday, November 17, 1961. According to the Jefferson Democrat, highway secretary Park H. Martin cut the ribbon opening the first 8.5 miles of the "Keystone Shortway." This section of roadway included the Brookville Exit, making it the first exit open on this phase of Interstate 80. The Army Reserves honor guard and the Brookville Area High School Band both participated in the ribbon cutting ceremonies. The ceremonies were actually held on the stretch of Interstate. Following the ceremonies was a luncheon at the Brookville Area High School.
From the time they first started Exit 13, it has come a long way in development. Exit 13 is now considered to be one of the busiest exits along Interstate 80, drawing in an excess of one million people per year. Many thanks are in order to all the people who fought so hard to make I-80, and especially Exit 13 a reality.
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