What’s the difference between a turnpike and a highway? In the 1700s, privately funded roads were constructed in the Northeast to connect commercial centers, but tolls were charged in order to pay for the wood planks that covered the road; this was well before gravel or pavement came about. A turnpike itself is the bar on a turnstile, much like you’d see in a subway station or an amusement park. One pays the toll then moves through the turnpike. On the other hand, freeways were the dirt roads that didn’t require a toll. This is part of a complete episode.