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Navigable waterways of Pennsylvania


Philadelphia airport
Philadelphia airport

The state’s three major navigable waterways, the Delaware River, the Ohio River, and Lake Erie, have helped make Pennsylvania an important trade and transportation center since colonial times.

Philadelphia, with its excellent inland harbor at the upper tip of Delaware Bay, ranked 18th among U.S. ports in total tonnage in 1996. Petroleum and petroleum products, metal ores, and scrap are the port’s most important imports and its leading exports. Iron and steel materials, chemicals, fertilizers, paper, meat, and fruits and vegetables also rank high among the city’s imports, while other significant exports include chemicals, fertilizers, coal, and coke.

Pittsburgh, the chief trading center for heavily industrialized southwestern Pennsylvania, is one of the nation’s busiest inland ports. Because the Ohio flows westward toward the Midwest and the South, the entire inland waterway system of the United States is accessible to the Pittsburgh area.

Erie, the state’s third port of entry, gained access to world ports with the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, and has developed facilities to handle oceangoing vessels. Erie exports clay and manufactured products and imports sand and gravel, pig iron, and various minerals.

In 2004 Pennsylvania had more separate railroads than any other state, operating on track extending for 8,143 km (5,060 mi).

Some 60 percent of the freight tonnage originating within the state was coal. In 2007 the state was served by a dense public highway network of 195,666 km (121,581 mi), including 2,829 km (1,758 mi) of federal interstate highways. The Pennsylvania Turnpike, the first superhighway built in the United States, stretches across the state. In 2009 Pennsylvania had 16 airports, most of which were private. Of the commercial fields, the airports in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were the busiest, between them serving nearly 16 million passengers a year.

Tourism is virtually the only industry in the Pocono Mountains, long a popular resort area. In the more rugged woodlands of the Alleghenies several summer and winter resort areas have been developed, including a number of ski resorts. In addition, Pennsylvania’s many historic sites attract millions of visitors yearly.

Electricity


Of the electricity generated in Pennsylvania in 2006, 63 percent came from steam-driven power plants burning fossil fuels, mainly coal, and 34 percent came from nuclear power plants. In 2008 the state had 9 operating nuclear reactors. In 1979 a near meltdown of the core in a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg resulted in the shutdown of that reactor and, for a short time, the partial evacuation of nearby residents. Only 1 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric facilities. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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