Director of Public Information
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Contact: Christina Hampton (610) 292-3785 OR August 27, 1996
Lowman S. Henry (717) 939-9551 Ext. 2934
PA TURNPIKE OPENS LANES FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND
Travelers Urged to Get Enough Rest Before Taking Long Trips
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Summer's last holiday is at hand and more
than 1.4 million vehicles are expected to use the 506-mile
Pennsylvania Turnpike as motorists take to the road for the three-
day Labor Day weekend.
Turnpike officials are urging drivers to get enough rest
before traveling. Drowsy driving is a major safety hazard.
Studies show nearly a third of all drivers have dozed off while at
the wheel. Among that group, 12% had an accident because they fell
asleep while driving.
Two new craft centers, four farmer's markets and maximum
unrestricted travel await Turnpike motorists. All lanes will be
open the entire length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 6 p.m.
Thursday, August 29 through 6 a.m. Wednesday, September 3. The
only exception will be a 4 mile section of the Northeast Extension
between the Pocono (#35) and Wilkes-Barre (#36) interchanges. There
will be single lanes and a 40 m.p.h. speed limit due to
construction in that area.
A major problem, especially during the summer months, are
sleep deprived or drowsy drivers. "Drowsy drivers are a danger to
themselves and to others," said John Hickey, Research and
Programming Manager at the Turnpike. "When you're driving a car,
or any vehicle, split second reflexes can mean the difference
between life and death."
Because safety is the number one priority at the Turnpike,
SNAP (Sonic Nap Alert Pattern) rumble strips have been installed on
the shoulder of the road to alert drowsy drivers. SNAP has reduced
drift-off-road accidents caused by drowsiness by almost 60%.
"However, SNAP is only a warning for drivers," Hickey continued.
"SNAP won't help if motorists don't heed the warning after being
alerted by the rumble sound and pull off the road."
A short nap can often restore a driver's alertness. The
Turnpike has numerous roadside rest areas and 22 services plazas
where drowsy motorists can pull off the highway for a short walk,
a nap or a cup of coffee.
Service plazas along the Turnpike offer a variety of food
services, gift shops, faxes, public phones, restrooms and service
station facilities. Farmer's Markets are located at the New
Stanton, Sideling Hill and Valley Forge services plazas along the
main line and at the Allentown Service Plaza on the Northeast
An added attraction this Labor Day weekend are two new Craft
Centers located at the Zelienople Welcome Center (approximately 9
miles east of the exit # 2 the Beaver Valley Interchange) and at
the North Neshaminy Welcome Center (approximately 7 miles west of
the Delaware River Bridge, exit #30). The creative work of over
100 Pennsylvania craft artists will be for sale to the public. The
new shops feature everything from handmade gold, silver and costume
jewelry to hand-blown and stained glass.
Captain Richard A. Stein of Pennsylvania State Police Troop T
urges motorists to use both their seat belts and extra caution over
the holiday weekend due to the high volume of traffic. Additional
State Police vehicles, marked and unmarked, will be patrolling the
Turnpike over the Labor Day weekend. Extra maintenance and
Turnpike safety patrols are also scheduled to provide assistance to
If emergencies do arise, motorists can use the Turnpike's
emergency call boxes, located at one-mile intervals along the toll
road. Help can also be summoned by dialing *11 (star one-one) on
a cellular phone.
Permits for over-dimensional vehicles will not be available
from sundown Thursday, August 29 to sunrise Wednesday, September 4.
The restriction applies to vehicles exceeding 8 1/2 feet in width,
85 feet in length, 13 1/2 feet in height and 100,000 pounds gross
P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676 Phone: (717) 939-9551 Fax: (717) 986-9649