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


Kathy Liebler, 717-939-9551, ext. 2840

November 20, 2000


Encourages Drunk Driving Awareness

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike is preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday period — the busiest five days of the year on "America’s First Superhighway." In preparation, all construction and maintenance projects have been scheduled to provide maximum use of the roadway. Four lanes of traffic (five and six where applicable) will be kept open on the entire Turnpike system beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 21 until 6 a.m. on Monday Nov. 27.

Officials anticipate that more than 2 million vehicles will use the Turnpike from Wednesday Nov. 22 through Sunday Nov. 26. Last year, roughly 1.9 million cars and trucks took the Turnpike during the Thanksgiving period. Officials expect the heaviest traffic volumes will occur on Wednesday evening and on Sunday beginning in the afternoon.

Encouraging drunk driving awareness, the Turnpike is participating in the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (PLCB) drunk driving awareness campaign, "Think Outside the Box", by displaying posters at tollbooths. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is using the Thanksgiving holiday to kick off its "Tie One on for Safety" campaign. To foster awareness about the consequences of drunk driving, red ribbons will be available to customers at service plazas. Motorists are encouraged to tie the ribbon on their vehicle symbolizing their pledge to drive safe and sober during the holiday season and to remind others to do the same.

In preparation for the increased traffic, the Turnpike has reestablished four-lane patterns on the section of roadway between Interchanges 14 and 15 in Franklin County. Traffic had been limited to one lane in each direction due to a total, reconstruction project — the first time the original 160-mile Turnpike has been renewed from the ground up since it opened nearly 60 years ago.

Oversized and overweight vehicles are banned on the Turnpike during the holiday from sundown Tuesday, Nov. 21 to sunrise Monday, Nov. 27, restricting all vehicles exceeding any of the following: 10 feet wide; 85 feet long; 13 ½ feet high; and 100,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

Should the holiday forecast include snow, sleet or freezing rain, Turnpike maintenance crews are prepared to respond 24-hours-a-day at a moment’s notice to keep the highway open and safe. Before departing for their destinations, however, travelers should call the Turnpike’s toll-free weather line at 1-(800) 331-3414 for roadway and weather information or visit www.paturnpike.com for updates.

Maintenance crews, safety patrols, and the Pennsylvania State Police will boost their forces over the holiday period to assist stranded motorists on the highway. In addition to patrolling for speeders, troopers will be looking for drivers who appear to be sleepy or intoxicated. The 22 service plazas will be open around the clock for motorists in need of restrooms, fuel and food.

Bright yellow emergency call boxes located every mile both east and westbound along the Turnpike should be used by motorists who experience breakdowns, accidents or other incidents. Help can also be called by dialing *11 on a cellular phone or utilizing the toll-free emergency number posted on service-plaza payphones.


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