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   

  Contact: Kathy Liebler, (717) 939-9551 Ex. 2840

September 1, 1999


Labor Day Weekend traditionally marks the official end to summer. The Pennsylvania Turnpike expects that more than 1.6 million vehicles will travel on the Turnpike during the last major holiday weekend of the season .

Captain Richard A. Stein, Pennsylvania State Police Troop T said, "There will be additional state troopers patrolling the highway throughout the holiday weekend, strictly enforcing all traffic regulations. Troopers will look for drunk and aggressive drivers, speeders and watch for the proper usage of seat belts and child safety restraints."

Turnpike officials are reporting that none of the fatalities that have occurred on the Turnpike in 1999, involved drivers and passengers who were properly secured in their seatbelts. "We cannot emphasize too strongly, the importance and necessity of seat belt usage," Stein said

Turnpike maintenance crews and safety patrol personnel will also monitor the 506-mile highway, ready to assist stranded motorists. Also highlighting the busy holiday weekend will be the unveiling of Phase Two of the Turnpike’s Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS). Nine additional Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) transmitters and five new Variable Message Signs (VMS) will be operational to alert Turnpike travelers of potential delays, advise them of alternate routes and warn those exiting the Turnpike of problems on connecting highways. The first phase of ATIS has been implemented for the past two years in the Philadelphia area. The expansion of the system, westward, incorporates interchanges as far as the Cranberry Interchange (Exit Three). Travelers can obtain information over the HARs by tuning their car radios to 1640 AM. .

Director of Safety Joseph P. McCool advised motorists to take advantage of the Turnpike's 22 multi-concept service plazas, open 24-hours a day. "Long distance driving is often hypnotic. Taking frequent breaks can prevent serious accidents and injury. A hot cup of coffee and a bite to eat helps to revive drowsy motorists on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel." McCool reminds travelers in need of assistance to use the Turnpike's emergency call boxes, located at one-mile intervals along the entire roadway. For emergency purposes only motorists with cell phones can reach the Turnpike's operations center by dialing star *-1-1 (star 1-1).

Recreational vehicle operators should be aware that the North Neshaminy (milepost 351.9), Allentown (milepost A35.9 on the Northeastern Extension), Valley Forge (milepost 324.6), Lawn (milepost 258.8), and Sideling Hill (milepost 172.3) Service Plazas offer RV sanitary stations.

The Turnpike's popular Farmers' Markets, located at the Allentown (north and southbound, milepost 35.9 on the Northeastern Extension Route 476), Valley Forge (eastbound only, milepost 324.6), Sideling Hill (east and westbound, milepost 172.3), and New Stanton (westbound only, milepost 77.6) Service Plazas will be open throughout the holiday weekend. The markets feature fresh, locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade pastries and preserves.

Beginning Thursday, September 2 at 3:00 p.m. through Wednesday, September 8 at 6 a.m. all construction and maintenance activity will cease throughout the entire Turnpike with the exception of mileposts 94 to 99, approximately four miles east of the Donegal Interchange (Exit #9), where eastbound lanes will be reduced from three to two, the Pittsburgh Interchange (Exit #6) where exiting motorists will find a single lane pattern on the bridge leading to Routes 22-West and 376-West and the Breezewood Interchange (Exit #12) where exiting eastbound motorists will find a single exit lane ramp.

Permitted over-dimensional vehicles (over 10 feet in width, 85 feet in length, 13-1/2 feet in height, and 1000,000 pounds gross weight) will not be allowed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from sundown Thursday, September 3 to sunrise Wednesday, September 7.

Executive Director John T. Durbin said, "Due to the high volume of traffic traveling the Turnpike this holiday weekend, we ask that drivers use extra caution. Please help us make this a safe and enjoyable end-of-the-summer celebration."


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