'Graffiti Highway' Is Being Buried

Colorful stretch of abandoned road was attracting too many trespassers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2020 2:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pennsylvania's "Graffiti Highway" is history, apparently thanks to a stream of trespassers and worries about liability. The colorful stretch of Route 61 through Centralia, closed to traffic since 1993, is being covered with dirt by a local coal company, CNN reports. Over the decades it had been covered in graffiti by visitors who ignored "No Trespassing" signs and warnings that it had been damaged by the coal-seam fire that has been burning under Centralia since 1962. "We'll bring in approximately 400 loads of material, and then we'll level it off, and then we'll probably plant it, and hopefully, there will be trees and grass growing there," says Vincent Guarna of Fox Coal Company.

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Guarna says landowner Pagnotti Enterprises hired the company to cover the stretch of highway because they were worried about getting sued. "I think a few weeks ago, there was a fire there, people just starting fires," said Guarna tells WNEP. "They're doing a lot of damage to the community there, and it's time that ends right now." Visitors say there had been videos posted on social media of people partying at the site. Centralia is now almost a ghost town, with just five households remaining, PennLive reports. The fire, which could burn for another 200 years, turned the highway's asphalt spongy and smoke sometimes comes through the cracks. (Read more Pennsylvania stories.)

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