While most drivers tooling along on the Turnpike probably
never think about what's underneath their wheels, there's actually much
more than meets the eye. Foremost is asphalt, which almost completely
covers the Turnpike roadway. The Authority could have chosen concrete,
but the bid for asphalt was far less.
By the time the Turnpike opened, asphalt covered more
than 4 million square yards of surface area, was one foot deep over two
feet of improved soil, and had led to the largest concentration of paving
equipment ever on a single project. It also lasted. As retired Turnpike
Authority construction engineer R. Bruce Noel put it (Noel started on
the highway in 1956), "we probably had the most outstanding pavement.
The Turnpike's pavement in its original construction . . . never had to
be torn up and replaced. And it will be there forever."