As the busiest travel time of the year fast approaches, the PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) is asking motorists to be courteous and stay alert while driving. Approximately 3.45 million drivers are estimated to be traveling the Turnpike over the Thanksgiving holiday from Nov. 22 through Nov. 27. Heaviest traffic volumes are anticipated to be on Tuesday from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon until approximately 8 p.m. Turnpike officials have noticed that Tuesday before Thanksgiving is now one of the busiest travel days, so that day has been factored into the traffic numbers.
"As the earlier holiday travelers combine with our commuter and commercial customers, drivers need to be very aware of their surroundings," said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "Staying alert and being courteous while traveling is a must."
To keep the highway safe, all construction and maintenance work will be modified to allow full use of the roadway; all lanes will be available beginning at 5 a.m. on Nov. 22 until 11 p.m. on Nov. 27, except in case of emergencies. Some construction activity that does not impact lanes may continue behind barriers in limited areas, reducing shoulder widths.
Safety is also being stressed by the PA State Police Troop T, the division in charge of Turnpike patrols, by asking motorists to obey the posted speed limits and slow down while traveling through toll plazas. Troopers will be looking to make sure motorists are obeying posted speed limits and keeping their eyes on the road.
"With millions of vehicles on the roadway over the holiday, motorists now more than ever need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while driving," said Captain Paul S. Gustaitis, Commanding Officer of State Police Troop T. “Our troopers will be patrolling the Turnpike looking for people texting while driving to stop that kind of behavior.”
Motorists should be aware of the probability of slow-moving and even stopped traffic throughout the holiday. Turnpike maintenance crews, State Farm Safety Patrols, and the PA State Police will be on the roadway to assist stranded motorists, keep traffic moving and respond to emergencies. Motorists are encouraged to move over for all emergency responders.
To remind travelers of the “Steer Clear” law and other Pennsylvania driving laws, the PTC is holding a Safety Break event at two of its service plazas on Nov. 22 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Representatives from the Turnpike’s maintenance and safety departments, the PA State Police and the Turnpike’s emergency response partners will be on hand at the Allentown Service Plaza on the Northeastern Extension in Lehigh County and the North Somerset Service Plaza located westbound at milepost 112 in Somerset County to offer safe winter driving tips and answer questions.
Thanksgiving congestion is an ideal reason to take advantage of the award-winning PA Turnpike smartphone app, called TripTalk. This app streams audio traffic advisories to smartphones, so drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while steering clear of delays caused by holiday backups or accidents. The PA Turnpike also shares traveler and incident information with the Waze smartphone app. Travelers on the PA Turnpike can also get real-time roadway information via the Turnpike Roadway Information Program, or "TRIP," by visiting www.paturnpike.com or calling 1-866-976-TRIP (8747).
In case of an accident, breakdown or other emergency, motorists can summon assistance by calling *11 on their cell phones. Be prepared to give the milepost location and direction of travel, and move the vehicles involved out of active travel lanes if possible.
SOURCE: PA Turnpike Travel Advisor