Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

    C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

    Contact: Lowman S. Henry (717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934                          May 21, 1997

PA Turnpike Ready for Memorial Day Travelers

        Harrisburg, PA -- The summer driving season gets underway on the Pennsylvania Turnpike this weekend with over 1.4 million vehicles expected to travel on America's first superhighway. Additional state police, safety and maintenance patrols will be on duty and four-lane traffic patterns will be in effect for most of the Turnpike throughout the Memorial Day weekend.
        "We encourage travelers to allow plenty of time for their trips and encourage frequent rest stops to prevent drowsy driving," said Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin. "The Turnpike's 22 service plazas will be open throughout the holiday weekend as will our four Farmers' Markets and two Pennsylvania-Made crafts centers."
        Memorial Day weekend is one of the Turnpike's busiest travel holidays. To keep traffic flowing smoothly, all maintenance projects requiring lane closures will be suspended from 3:30 P.M. on Thursday, May 22nd thru 6:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 28th. Two lanes of traffic in both directions will be available throughout the holiday weekend the entire length of the Turnpike except between milepost A-82 south of Wilkes-Barre Exit # 36 and milepost A-90 south of the Wyoming Valley Interchange where highway construction will limit traffic to one lane in each direction. "We have scheduled additional personnel to patrol the road to assist in debris removal, call box assistance and to handle any emergency situation," said John A. Boschi, Director of Maintenance. "These extra maintenance patrols will ensure our ability to respond to any situation quickly and effectively."
        Captain Richard A. Stein of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T said drowsy driving is a major problem, particularly during the first holiday weekend of the summer season when many motorists are not used to long distance driving. "We urge motorists to get plenty of rest and to obey all speed limits when driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike," said Stein.
        He also advised motorists to be careful when driving near large trucks. "Many people don't realize that all truck drivers have a blind spot on all four sides of their rig where they can't see smaller vehicles passing them or travelling nearby," Stein explained. "It is important for drivers of smaller vehicles to keep some distance between themselves and large trucks and, when passing, do so as quickly as posted speed limits will allow."
        Turnpike travelers finding themselves in need of assistance are always close to an emergency call box. Call boxes are placed at one mile intervals throughout the Turnpike system. During emergency situations travelers should use the call boxes to alert the Turnpike's communications center to the problem. This can be done by pressing the button indicating the service needed, such as fire, police or ambulance. The communications center will respond by sending the appropriate assistance to the scene. Travelers with cellular phones can also dial *11 to contact the communications center, which is on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to request emergency aid.
        Agriculture is Pennsylvania's largest industry. When taking a break from Turnpike driving, travelers are urged to pick up some of the Keystone State's bounty at Farmers' Markets located at the Allentown, Valley Forge, Sideling Hill and New Stanton service plazas. In season fruits and vegetables are available at the Farmers' Markets weekends from now through November, weather permitting.
        Travelers can also now purchase authentic Pennsylvania-Made Crafts at craft centers located at the Zelienople and North Neshaminy service plazas. The crafts centers showcase the work of over 100 of Pennsylvania's top craft and folk artists. The shelves are stocked with a wide variety of original items that include something for every taste. The craft centers are open Wednesday thru Sunday from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M.
        For a complete guide to the many services and conveniences available at the 22 multi-concept services plazas along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, stop in any restaurant or service station along the Turnpike and pick up the Summer 1997 edition of the Turnpike Traveler. This free publication includes a Turnpike Traveler Guide to help you map a memorable trip along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
        As always, safety and convenience are the top priority of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission this holiday weekend. The Commission wishes all travelers a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. And remember, stay awake -- stay alive!


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649