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Pennsylvania Byways History

The Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) Created the National Scenic Byways Program.


The goal of this program is to recognize and promote outstanding corridors throughout the United States, promote tourism, and protect the resources that make these hidden treasures outstanding. 

Before a road can become a National Scenic Byway, it first must be designated a PA Byway. Beginning in the early 1990’s federal money was made available to states desiring to create a Scenic Byway Program. Pennsylvania capitalized on this revenue to enhance scenic areas as well as initiate a State Scenic Byways Study. A Pennsylvania Byway Coordinator was named and four routes were designated through the Pennsylvania State Legislature because of their outstanding scenic, historic, natural, recreational and archeological qualities. 

In 2001, a PA Byways program was created and approved by PennDOT’s Program Management Committee. The purpose of the initiative was to designate routes that have outstanding qualities and features as PA Byways in an effort to support local initiatives and to sustain and promote these features. The first route designated under the PA Byways initiatives was State Route 3011 in McKean County, Kinzua Scenic Byway. Since then the program has grown to designate 15 PA Byways, including two National Scenic Byways.