Sprinkled throughout the back roads of America are the remains of Armageddon. Or what could have been Armageddon had the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union suddenly gone hot.

In the coming months, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy will establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park — preserving once-secret sites in Los Alamos, N.M., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Hanford, Wash., where scientists raced to develop the world’s first atomic bomb. Public tours at these sites are already intensely popular, selling out within days. The Park Service is trying to improve access to these sites to meet the increasing public interest. Veteran photojournalist Jim Lo Scalzo of European Press Agency has been documenting many of these site–hidden in plain site–for the past year in a project titled “Next Exit: Armageddon”.

Yet elsewhere in the United States, the ruins of the Manhattan Project, and the arms race that followed, remain overlooked. In North Dakota, pyramid-like anti-missile radar, built to detect an incoming nuclear attack from the Soviet Union, pokes through the prairie grass behind an open fence. In Arizona, a satellite calibration target used during the Cold War to help U.S. satellites focus their lenses before spying on the Soviet Union sits covered in weeds near a Motel 6 parking lot. In South Dakota, decommissioned nuclear missiles still aim skyward; in Nevada and New Mexico, the remains of nuclear testing still scar the desert. And in a suburban Chicago park, where visitors jog and bird watch, nuclear waste from the world’s first reactor — developed by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi for the Manhattan Project in 1942 — sits buried beneath a sign that reads “Caution—Do Not Dig.”

— From “Next Exit: Armageddon” by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA