The 2004 Harrisburg Road Enthusiast Meet was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on September 18, 2004. Among the agenda for the gathering were tours of the Goat Path Expressway (the planned realignment of PA 23), freeway construction for U.S. 222 in Berks County, and the borough of Centralia, site of long burning underground coal fires and an abandoned PA 61. The meeting began outside of Shenanigans on PA 272 (Oregon Pike) northeast of Lancaster. The following road enthusiasts were in attendance: Aaron Sica, Corey Dukes, Jeff Kitsko, Chris Jordan, Carter Buchanan, Randy Hersh, Seth Dunn, Lou Corsaro, John Krakoff and Alex Nitzman.

Abandoned PA 23 Expressway

Pennsylvania Route 23

An expressway was planned along the PA 23 corridor from the city of Lancaster and the borough of New Holland in Lancaster County. Right of way was secured east from U.S. 30 to a point beyond PA 772 (Newport Road). Construction followed in the early 1970s and several overpasses, including portions of a diamond interchange at PA 772, were completed at a cost of over $9 million.1 Halting additional road work, opposition increased and in the late 1970s the entire project was cancelled. Sections of the roadbed already built were subsequently covered with dirt and grass seed.

The five mile or so expressway alignment east from PA 23 (Walnut Street) in Lancaster to PA 772 (Newport Road) south of Leola remains unused. Goats and other livestock use the right of way as pastureland, which resulted in its local nickname of the “Goat Path”.

Completed on November 20, 1992, a parclo interchange joins U.S. 30 with an extension of Walnut Street (PA 23) northeast of Downtown Lancaster. The exchange represents the planned west end of the PA 23 expressway from south of New Holland.

The second stop along the Harrisburg Road Meet tour was at the partially completed diamond interchange for the PA 23 expressway at PA 772 (Newport Road) in Upper Leacock township. This location represents the eastern extent of grading for the expressway.

Overpasses for PA 772 and roadway stubs for the ramps with PA 23 were built in 1975. A short section of pavement along what would have been the westbound roadway for PA 23 below PA 772 is used for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) storage of maintenance equipment.

A mile and half to the southwest of the exchange with PA 772 (Newport Road), a pair of overpasses were constructed for the PA 23 expressway across Horseshoe Road (SR 1003).

Continuing the tour westward into East Lampeter township, Hartman Station Road crosses the PA 23 expressway right of way at Geist Road. Hartman Station Road leads north to PA 23 (New Holland Pike) at Hunsecker Road (SR 1029) and south to Horeshoe Road at Mt. Sidney Road (SR 1005). An overpass was constructed for Hartman Station Road over the expressway.

The final stop along the PA 23 expressway was along Willow Road (SR 1090). Willow Road crosses over the freeway right-of-way on an overpass just north of Greenfield Road east of the interchange joining U.S. 30 with PA 23 on Market Street.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

After the tour of abandoned PA 23, the majority of the group headed northeast to Reading to see progress on the U.S. 222 freeway extending northeast from U.S. 30 outside Lancaster to U.S. 422 at Wyomissing. We parted ways to cover freeways in Harrisburg and Interstate 81 northeast to Frackville before reuniting with the group at Centralia.

The borough of Centralia in southern Columbia County is the site of a large underground coal fire that originated in 1961. Resulting in noxious gases and sink holes, the bulk of the Centralia area was abandoned due to the ongoing danger from the subterranean blaze. Over time properties were purchased by the government and families relocated, though a few citizens opted to remain.

Pennsylvania Route 61

A four lane section of Pennsylvania Route 61 south of Centralia closed permanently in 1992 due to the underground fires. The route was realigned eastward onto two lane Byrnesville Road (SR 2002). The former stretch of PA 61 was subsequently abandoned due to uneven settling of the pavement and the formation of fissures. Over time the pavement was vandalized with graffiti.


  1. “New Holland Group Seeks to Finish Rt. 23.” Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA), February 28, 1995.