Two Million Vehicles Expected to Travel Pa. Turnpike Over Labor Day Weekend
Pa. State Police plans to crack down on speeding and aggressive driving over the holiday.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) officials want motorists to stay alert and pay attention to speed limit signs over the holiday weekend as nearly 2.2 million vehicles are expected to travel the highway during the four-day Labor Day weekend. With some areas of the Pa. Turnpike now posted at 70 mph, motorists are advised to be aware of where the speed limit is reduced.
Work zones within the 70 mph zone between the Blue Mountain (Exit # 201) and Morgantown (Exit #298) interchanges are posted at 55 mph, and some curves are posted at advisory speeds between 60-65 mph. With the increase in traffic expected over the holiday weekend, motorists are asked to pay attention to the posted speed limit and drive safely.
“Whether crews are in a work zone or not, these areas still need to be approached by drivers with caution. The safety barriers are in place for a reason, and the speed restrictions will be enforced,” states Captain Gregory M. Bacher of Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the unit responsible for patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike. “Patrols and enforcement efforts will be increased to watch for aggressive driving and ensure holiday-traveler safety.”
To prepare for the higher traffic volume, PTC roadway maintenance activities will be suspended from Aug. 28 at 3 p.m. until Sept. 3 at 6 a.m. This will allow all travel lanes to be open to traffic except in the case of emergencies. Construction activity that does not impact travel lanes may continue behind protective barriers in some areas, thereby reducing shoulder widths. However, at least two lanes in each direction will remain open except possibly during an emergency.
Turnpike motorists should be prepared for possible delays and congestion at interchanges during peak travel times on Aug. 29 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sept. 1 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Higher traffic volumes are anticipated at the Lebanon/Lancaster Interchange (Exit # 266) this weekend due to concerts in Hershey and the Renaissance Faire, which is expecting up to 8,000 people on Labor Day alone. Drivers should remain alert and cautious as traffic approaching Exit #266 could back up onto the main line.
To promote safe driving, the Turnpike is sponsoring a Safety Break event at the Sideling Hill Service Plaza in Fulton County on Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Throughout the weekend, Turnpike maintenance crews and safety patrols will monitor the highway, ready to assist travelers in case of an accident or breakdown. To report an accident or incident, Turnpike customers should call the traffic-operations center directly by dialing *11 (or 1-800-332-3880) on a mobile phone or activating one of the yellow emergency call boxes along the roadway.
“We want drivers to keep their eyes on the road, that’s why we promote a text-free Turnpike,” said the Turnpike’s Manager of Customer Safety Joseph L. Rispoli. “The Turnpike’s smartphone app, TRIP Talk, is a great way to keep informed of traffic situations.” Trip Talk streams audio advisories to iPhone and Droid users so they can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. To download the free app, visit http://www.paturnpike.com/triptalk.
Labor Day travelers are encouraged to plan ahead before traveling by calling the Turnpike Roadway Information line, 866-976-TRIP (8747) for real-time traffic alerts or visiting the Turnpike’s live Travel Conditions Map online at www.paturnpike.com.