The Road to Nowhere

The Road to Nowhere. If you are older than 25 and a native of Berks County you have likely heard the phrase. It was used to refer to a stretch of road that literally went nowhere, until slowly over the course of a few decades was added onto and connected to other major roadways.

Left- original Right– Today (click to enlarge)

It was originally built in 1962 as a small drag strip piece of road, spanning maybe three quarters of a mile between the intersection of Van Reed Rd/Paper Mill Road and north over the Tulpehocken Creek to Blessing Lane. It appears there was a bridge on Paper Mill Road that crossed over the then newly constructed Road to Nowhere. (pictured above). This bridge no longer exists. If you look closely on Google Maps you can see old sections of Van Reed road in the wooded areas parallel to the current Van Reed Road. It appears from the comparison photos that the entire southern end of the original Road to nowhere is now the Paper Mill Road Off-ramp, Turkey Hill and surrounding wooded area.

In 1968 they expanded northward further toward Route 183 and on to Muhlenberg Township, making a connection to 222 north to Allentown.

Until later construction was started, the Road to Nowhere abruptly ended at this white fence. The entire stretch beyond the barrier is what stood virtually unused for many years and acquired the nickname, the Road to Nowhere – Eagle Photos by Edward G. Schneider – July 1968 Reading Eagle
The Road to Nowhere from Rt. 183 south toward where it dead ended around Van Reed Road in 1971
new stretch north in 1968, also an angled view of the mystery Paper Mill Road Bridge

Further work stalled until the 90s. It took until 1999 for the southern dead end of the Road to Nowhere pictured above to be connected eastward over to the Warren Street Bypass/422 interchange. It was around that time the neighboring land that became Broadcasting Square Shopping Center was sold and planned for redevelopment. Then it reached its final form in 2006 as 222 south between 422 and 724 was finished, making it possible to get all the way to Lancaster from Allentown on Route 222.

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