A couple of weeks ago we were in Western Maryland where the hills roll from one into the other, and roads do the best they can going up, over, and through. It's all beautiful country, but there's one brief section that makes you say, "Wow, look at that!"
Just beyond Hancock, I-70 turns north into Pennsylvania, and I-68 begins its westward track. Old U. S. 40 follows the same route but then veers sharply south to climb the side of a hill, and then does a switchback down the other side. It's clear that when the old National Pike was built, it was no match for Sideling Hill.
Fast forward a few decades to the building of I-68. Engineers blasted through and created an easy, curvy run for the new interstate highway. And in the process, exposed a remarkable geologic formation that clearly illustrates the immense powers that formed our Appalachians. Thanks to the construction, you can see how the rock layers were lifted, curved, and eroded away over the millenia to the gentle mountains we know today.
Thank goodness they didn't just blast through and leave it at that. In the visitor's center there is an informative display that explains how Sideling Hill was formed as well as a three story-high timeline of the earth's formation. Outside, stairs let you walk up to the rock formations, and a pedestrian bridge across the interstate - complete with "camera ports" that let you photograph without having to thread your lens through the protective wire fence - gives you a remarkable view.
This is one example of your highway taxes not only at work, but doing something very worthwhile.