Motorists traveling eastbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will have to pay a little extra attention to their gas gauge for the next five days.

That’s because the turnpike’s Sideling Hill Service Plaza, which usually handles traffic going both directions, will have the eastbound ramp to the plaza closed from 8:30 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Friday.  The closure will allow crews to continue construction on a $28.1 million project to create additional parking and a new trailhead at the plaza.

During the closure, motorists who need fuel will have to stop 25 miles sooner at the South Midway plaza or be prepared to drive 72 miles farther to the Cumberland Valley plaza, the next one beyond Sideling Hill.

Sideling Hill will have all services available for motorists headed west.

The work is part of a two-pronged project that contractor New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc. began in May 2023. It will add more parking spaces, including much-needed space for tractor-trailers, and amenities for trail users.

When the project is finished next year, parking on the west side will increase by 24 cars to 116 and by 37 tractor-trailers to 68 and on the east side parking for cars will increase by 23 to 116 and by 25 to 56 for tractor-trailers.

The revised plaza also will have a new, expanded location for the farmers market; new signs, lighting and stormwater collection areas; and upgraded curbs and sidewalks.

The trailhead will be a completely new addition to the plaza that will allow trail users to visit the plaza and provide motorists on the turnpike a place to park for access to 600 miles of trails within a 25-mile radius. That will include the TOPP Trail, Buchanan State Forest, Bicycle PA Route S and Raystown Lake.

The trailhead will feature a pavilion with seating; bike racks, repair stations and washing stations; and landscaping that includes a secure sidewalk to the plaza’s food court and restrooms.

The turnpike trailhead is being built to provide more parking and amenities for outdoor enthusiasts looking to visit this part of the Commonwealth and to help local municipalities increase awareness of the vast outdoor pursuits available in this region. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission)

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Ed Blazina

Ed covers transportation at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at