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The Pennsylvania Turnpike was opened to traffic on October 1, 1940. Built using the right-of-way and unfinished tunnels of the never completed South Pennsylvania Railroad, it was a supreme achievement of civil engineering. The new highway immediately captured the public's imagination and proved to be an unqualified success. Motorists flocked from around the country to drive on the new superhighway, and it became a tourist destination in and of itself. But along with that success were planted the seeds of its eventual fall from grace. Under-engineered, poorly maintained, and the victim of premature obsolescence, the highway became the object of public scorn in little more than a generation. Only since the turn of the 21st century were real efforts made to change that perception.