|Millions Expected to Travel Pennsylvania Turnpike Over the Holiday
Drivers advised to plan ahead and check road conditions before traveling.
|As people make their travel plans for the holiday season, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) wants travelers to know that it is ready to handle the heavy traffic and any adverse weather conditions that may occur. More than 4 million vehicles are expected to travel the Turnpike from Wednesday, Dec. 24 through Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Estimated traffic numbers this year could mean a record-breaking travel day on Dec. 26 with a 600,000 vehicles anticipated.
To keep the highway safe during the holiday, all construction and maintenance work will be suspended to allow full use of the roadway; all lanes will be available beginning at 3 p.m. on Dec. 19 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2015. Turnpike maintenance crews will be fully staffed to confront any wintry weather that may occur.
"Drivers are never alone on the Pennsylvania Turnpike," stresses Chief Executive Officer Mark Compton. "In addition to our maintenance crews keeping the roadway clear, we also have our State Farm Safety Patrol out there ready to assist stranded motorists."
State Police Troop T, the division in charge of Turnpike patrols, will also be patrolling the Turnpike ready to render aid, and will be on the lookout for drunk drivers, speeders and aggressive motorists. "Tailgating, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic leads to nothing but trouble - especially in bad weather," says Troop T Commanding Officer Captain Gregory M. Bacher. "In fact, aggressive driving causes an increasing number of severe motor-vehicle injuries and fatalities."
Safe and smart driving is being stressed to all motorists who are traveling this holiday season. "We want to remind our travelers that they should never pass a working plow truck and always keep a safe distance behind these vehicles," adds Compton. "Our crews are clearing the roadway ahead of them to make it safer for the drivers behind."
The Turnpike also advises travelers that the Valley Forge Service Plaza in Chester County at milepost 325 eastbound will close temporarily on Jan. 5, 2015 for renovations. The plaza is expected to reopen by the end of August 2015. Also, North Midway Service Plaza at milepost 147 westbound in Bedford County is currently closed for reconstruction. The PTC expects the facility will reopen May 2015.
The holiday season is an ideal time to download of the award-winning turnpike smartphone app, called TripTalk, available for Droid and iPhone users. TripTalk provides users with audio alerts about road conditions and any closures on the turnpike, letting drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while steering clear of delays caused by holiday backups or accidents.
Travelers can also get real-time roadway information by calling 1.866.976.TRIP (866.976.8747) or by checking the turnpike's web page, www.paturnpike.com. Holiday travelers are encouraged to check conditions before they depart.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season.