Left 4 Dead Wiki
L4d dt turnpike.jpg
Chapter 1
The Turnpike
Campaign Death Toll
Death Toll Chapter Chronology
Chapter 1
The Turnpike
Chapter 2
The Drains
"Uh-oh, watch out! Deer around here."
"Ah hell, I think we gotta go through this tunnel."
For the actual in-game turnpike, see Riverside Tunnel.

Immediately following the Crash Course campaign, The Turnpike is the first chapter of the third campaign, Death Toll.

After a fly-backwards cut scene showing players the way forward, the chapter begins.

The Survivors start on a highway leading to the "historic" town of Riverside. It is nighttime and before them is a litter of abandoned cars. One of the Survivors says (even though it was already mentioned in the Crash Course campaign) that they heard that the military was holding out in Riverside and as they have no better plan, it is good idea to head there. In front of them are Tier 1 weapons and ammo in the trunk of a police car with first-aid kits scattered inside and around the back of the vehicle.

A dried-up river gorge spanned by a demolished bridge forces the group to climb down the embankment and climb back up on the other side using a ladder set into the bridge abutment. Immediately in front is a road tunnel half a mile long driven under a mountain ridge which leads to Riverside. The tunnel is cluttered with vehicles, demolition debris―and Infected. Francis will often comment that he hates tunnels.

Along the way the group is offered opportunities to explore small side rooms and passageways containing supplies such as Molotovs and gas cans.

The tunnel is barricaded and blocked and the group takes a left turn into a side passage leading to a ventilation pumping station servicing the road tunnel. The area at the barricade is a likely place for a Smoker attack launched from a section of collapsed roof.

The ventilation room is heavily populated with alert and aggressive Common Infected. The group can either take a door directly onto a walkway overlooking the ventilation control gear or choose to enter via a side room that usually offers Pills and grenades. Once the ventilation room is cleared, Survivors can jump down and restock on ammo from a pile on some boxes against a far wall and supplies from a couple of back rooms. A Boomer will invariably waddle down the stairway leading to the open air above at this point. Snagging a Gas can or Propane bottle is a good idea as it can be thrown out from the top of the stairs to counter some of the Infected in the area outside.

Once at the top of the stairs, the Survivors can either proceed to the right through a gap in the fence or swing left and come out in a narrow gap between the cliff and a large rock. This latter route channels enemies into a choke point and brings the Survivors right up close to a large mob of Common Infected standing in a small depression in the terrain. A grenade, a Gas can, or a Propane bottle thrown down here is an ideal force multiplier.

After this episode any AI Bots will speed up and run for the safe room.

If time permits, it is possible to proceed past the safe room door and go up to the upper floor of the safe room building. Note that this is a "for interest" excursion since this floor contains nothing of value, except in Left 4 Dead 2 where it's more likely to spawn temporary heath items and melee weapons.

The safe room prefaces this campaign's sequel―The Drains.


Also see: Tactics

All campaign walkthroughs are done on Normal difficulty in single player, and are meant to give tips on what to do and generally point out things that might otherwise be missed.

There are, of course, a few key things to always remember:

  • Stop, look, and listen.
    • Being observant might alert you to something nasty ahead of time, like a Witch, Special Infected or Tank, and allow you to prepare yourself.
  • Teamwork.
    • This cannot be stressed enough. Left 4 Dead is supposed to be a cooperative game. Communicate with your teammates, if you're playing with others, or if you're by yourself with the AI, point out things they might otherwise miss. In all cases, watch out for each other and take care of each other. You are not going to survive the zombie apocalypse by yourself.
  • Be ready for anything.
  • Don't panic.

The Turnpike is fairly straightforward as far as chapters go, and is fairly easy, especially since it's the first chapter in the campaign. It's very unusual for particularly nasty Special Infected (such as the Tank and Witch) to show up here, but as always in Left 4 Dead, it's best to be prepared for anything.


At the beginning, the AI Survivors will grab:

Map of The Turnpike.

As usual all of the supplies for this chapter are right in front of players at the start. There are two first-aid kits on the ground and another two in the trunk of the police car plus an ammo pile and Tier 1 weapons.

Due to the open environment of this level and the predominance of Common Infected, it would probably be best to take the Submachine Gun although the Pump Shotgun is fine for dealing with the fairly modest enemies present in this chapter.

When ready the team heads up the road to the broken bridge.

Jumping down is not an option so players descend into the gorge by going around the sides of the bridge. On the far side is a ladder set into the concrete bridge abutment. The gorge will be infested with Common Infected so either they must be mopped up or a team can sprint across the gorge, climb the ladder and cull them as they climb up in pursuit.

Immediately in front is the entrance to the Riverside Tunnel. It is dark and forbidding but that is where the team needs to go.

The tunnel contains a series of side rooms and passages offering a relative abundance of pipe bombs, Molotovs and gas cans. Initial opposition comprises random Common Infected followed later by at least one large group plus a Boomer and Hunter concealed behind the snarl of abandoned vehicles encountered approximately two-thirds of the way along the tunnel. Grenades and explosives are ideal to meet these threats. Once past the traffic jam, teams should be alert for a Smoker who often camps up in the collapsed roof area featuring service pipes.

Since the tunnel is barricaded and blocked, players must turn to the left into a side passage and descend the stairs. There are two doors here. If teams take the door straight in front of the stairs they enter a store room that usually contains supplies. The second passage door leads directly onto a ventilation pumping station. This space is always packed with Common Infected. A throwable such as a Gas can or Propane tank will slant the playing field in the team's favor.

Teams should always explore the pump room: it contains an ammo pile and usually an extra pistol and throwables in back rooms and alcoves. As this takes some time, teams should anticipate a The Director-spawned "hurry-up" horde. A Boomer will also enter the room from the stairs leading to the surface.

Once a team has everything it needs, the next phase is to climb the ladder to the gangway and ascend a short flight of stairs to the forest area outside. A few random Infected often lurk behind the fence to the right, whilst a large gaggle will be found in a small basin outside the fence past a large rock on the left. A suitable throwable such as a Molotov, Pipe Bomb or Gas can is useful at this point.

High up on the left rear of this basin area is a building containing the chapter-ending Safe room. Teams should head on up but not relax just yet since the area to the right of the building is a favorite spot for an Infected ambush and there is a risk that a laggard in poor health could get incapped if the rest of the team have sped on into the safe room. AI Bots will normally sprint for the safe room and leave the human player behind.

Note that there is a second floor to the safe room building accessed by taking a flight of stairs in the entrance passageway. Despite frequent visits, this room is always devoid of supplies and it thus serves no gameplay purpose. In Left 4 Dead 2 however it's very likely to spawn temporary health items and melee items so it may be worth to visit the area.

Once in the safe room, the team needs to get ready for The Drains.

Left 4 Dead 2 Version[]

The map is unchanged apart from weapon and enemy profiles.


The Survivors[]

With humans controlling the Special Infected, things can only get harder. However, they can't spawn until you leave the rough perimeter of the police car. That doesn't mean that you should let them have a good chance to find just the right spot, though! Hurry up and get your supplies, and get running!

This level is fairly painless in terms of difficulty. If you and your team keep on the move, whilst covering each other and making sure the Infected stay off your backs, you'll be all right. There are only a few places you should be aware of.

The first place to be aware of is the starting broken bridge is a nice place for Smokers. They can pull you off it and grab you from above whilst standing on it. Listen out for the signature cough of the Smoker and stay sharp. Hunters can also use the bridge to give their pounces height and attack you when you're below them, scoring them instant damage and putting the hurt on you. If they get in a good position quickly, Boomers can rain their vomit down on unsuspecting Survivors. Regardless of the above, if your team was very fast at getting their supplies and moving forward, they should not encounter any problems here.

The car pileup in the tunnel is less of a worry but is something to consider. Hunters love to hide amongst the cars and pounce out and attack the final passing Survivor. Smokers are not too troublesome here; they simply drag you away from your team as with most places. Boomers can hide behind the mound of cars and vomit up at you when you pass. The worst thing that can happen is if all of this takes place at once.

Now that you've dealt with the last of the Special Infected, dash for the safe room. But was it the last of the Infected? Hunters sometimes decide that a final desperate pounce from within the safe room is the best option. Remain wary of Hunters who wait in the safe room. This can keep a lone Survivor―who made a break for it―from success.

The Infected[]

See also: The Boomer, The Hunter, The Smoker, The Tank

Alright, so you missed them again, so what? It's not like you can get fired from being an Infected. Make this forest splattered with their blood!

Overall Tips

  • Any survivors that choose to run ahead of or fall behind their teammates will be much easier to seriously damage and kill. The farther away they are from their teammates, the more likely they are to be incapacitated or die before their teammates can reach them.
  • The Survivors all have outlines around them, showing their status and location. Green means they're healthy. Yellow means they're hurt. Red means they're low on health. Purple means they've been covered in Boomer bile. You can probably discern which to seek out first if possible.
  • Think like a Survivor. When you play as one, when are the worst times that something could come at you? Exploit that knowledge.
  • Teamwork, as aforementioned. Has a Boomer gotten their bile all over the Survivors? Jump one of them or a clean one. They can't see their teammates' aura until they're clean...and by then, it might be too late.
  • As much as teamwork is a strength for you and your enemies, a lack of it will be their downfall. If you can focus all of your energy on killing one of the Survivors, the rest will be that much easier to take down. Not only will they have one less gun, but they will have three Survivors to your three incapacitating Infected.

Boomers: Since the Boomer makes a very distinctive gurgling noise, choosing a good spawn-time is crucial. Do not spawn when the Survivors are far away and attempt to rush them, especially in the open. Even if you are hiding, the Boomer's gurgling will alert the Survivors of your presence. If you don't manage to cover all of the Survivors, you can either run at them clawing, hoping to explode in their face, or escape and return later. Remember that the Boomer is the only Special Infected with which you should almost always attack an incapacitated Survivor. If you can, try to vomit on prone Survivors so that the horde comes for them. This makes them almost impossible to rescue as every Infected attack interrupts a rescue attempt.

Hunters: This level is a decent run for you. It shouldn't be too hard, though don't expect to stop the Survivors from reaching the safe room. A pounce that deals damage is a good way to "incapacitate on pounce" a Survivor who has less health than the damage dealt, even before he begins his ripping attack. Look for Survivors outlined in red. The red indicates that their health is low, making them easy targets. Instead of pouncing on a weak Survivor, try clawing it. Once it quickly goes down, pounce on another Survivor to be even more effective.

Smokers: The Smoker can put the pain on the Survivors fairly easily. Common Infected don't stop attacking a Survivor just because you have him entangled; in fact, it's the bane of a Survivor covered in Boomer bile. Try to prey on Survivors so marked, especially when they're weak. Alternatively, if a Boomer has vomited on the three other Survivors, you can take the opportunity to grab the fourth. While the other three are covered in bile, they cannot see aura signals of their allies. In the mess of the horde battle, the lack of an aura means they may not even notice. You can hide at the other side of the bridge and pull the Survivor on the other side; they will be incapacitated instantly.

Tanks: This is a very good level. However, as with most starting levels, your appearance is rare. Avoid attacking in the open if at all possible, as it can be tough to get to Survivors for a melee attack and it is easy for them to avoid rock throws. It is possible to assist Hunters who have already pinned someone, but the effort required to aim isn't worth it because your attack will kill the Hunter, or any other Special Infected, instantly. If you can, fling one of the many cars at them.


  • The tunnel on the Turnpike is based on the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike and its two tunnels, Rays Hill Tunnel and Sideling Hill Tunnel. If you look closely, you can spot a one-way sign and traffic signal―The tunnels were originally also set up this way, which was the reason they were bypassed in 1968, as the two-lane, one-way setup of the tunnels caused bottlenecking.
  • This chapter has much in common with The Highway of Dark Carnival from the the second game. Both start at a place with lots of abandoned cars, both being first levels of the originally second campaigns their respective games, and both begin shortly after failing at escaping with a vehicle (armored truck from Crash Course in Left 4 Dead and Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car from Dead Center of Left 4 Dead 2).
  • The Turnpike is the only chapter in Left 4 Dead to feature a scripted Special Infected ragdoll, being the exploded Boomer in the beginning of the level.

Easter Eggs[]

  • The Turnpike may be a reference to the scene in 28 Days Later when the four Survivors, attempting to escape Infected London, go through an underground tunnel (as all bridges have been destroyed or blocked with traffic), and halfway through they are confronted with Infected as they try to change the tires (as they have been punctured after going over a large blockade of cars).
  • If you look in front of the squad car at the beginning of the level, there is a Boomer corpse, which may imply the Boomer met his death on the hood of the squad car, or perhaps is the reason the squad car pulled over or stopped.
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
L4d no mercy.jpg
No Mercy
The Apartments / The Subway / The Sewer / The Hospital / Rooftop Finale Price chopper.jpg
Dead Center
The Hotel / The Streets / The Mall / The Atrium
L4d achievement survive garage.png
Crash Course
The Alleys / The Truck Depot Finale Torch-Bearer.gif
The Passing
The Riverbank / The Underground / The Port
L4d death toll.jpg
Death Toll
The Turnpike / The Drains / The Church / The Town / Boathouse Finale Midnight rider.jpg
Dark Carnival
The Highway / The Fairgrounds / The Coaster / The Barns / The Concert
L4d dead air.jpg
Dead Air
The Greenhouse / The Crane / The Construction Site / The Terminal / Runway Finale Ragin cajun.jpg
Swamp Fever
Plank Country / The Swamp / Shanty Town / The Plantation
L4d blood harvest.jpg
Blood Harvest
The Woods / The Tunnel / The Bridge / The Train Station / Farmhouse Finale Weatherman.jpg
Hard Rain
The Milltown / The Sugar Mill / Mill Escape / Return To Town / Town Escape
Supreme sacrifice.png
The Sacrifice
The Docks / The Barge / Port Finale Bridge burner.jpg
The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
L4D last stand.jpg
The Last Stand
The Lighthouse Streamcrosser.jpg
Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
L4d outbreak.jpg
Dam It
Orchard / Campground / Dam Achievement Still Standing.png
The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale