Kathy Liebler

Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Kathy Liebler 717-939-9551 Ext: 2840
Carl DeFebo    717-939-9551 Ext: 2934  

November 19, 2001


Encourages Use of Seat Belts

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike is preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday period — the busiest five days of the year on “America’s First Superhighway.”  In preparation, all construction and maintenance projects have been scheduled to provide maximum use of the roadway. Four lanes of traffic (five and six where applicable) will be kept open on the entire Turnpike system beginning at 3 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 20 until 6 a.m. on Monday Nov. 26.

Officials anticipate that more than 2 million vehicles will use the Turnpike over the holiday period with the heaviest traffic volumes occurring on Wednesday evening and on Sunday beginning in the afternoon.

Oversized and overweight vehicles are banned on the Turnpike during the holiday from sundown Tuesday, Nov. 20 to sunrise Monday, Nov. 26, restricting all vehicles exceeding any of the following: 10 feet wide; 85 feet long; 13 ½ feet high; and 100,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

Should the holiday forecast include snow, sleet or freezing rain, Turnpike maintenance crews are prepared to respond 24-hours-a-day at a moment’s notice to keep the highway open and safe. Before departing for their destinations, travelers should call the Turnpike’s toll-free weather line at 1-(800) 331-3414 for roadway and weather information or visit www.paturnpike.com for updates.

Maintenance crews, safety patrols, and the Pennsylvania State Police will boost their forces over the holiday period to assist stranded motorists on the highway. In addition to patrolling for speeders, troopers will be looking for drivers who appear to be sleepy or intoxicated. The 22 service plazas will be open around the clock for motorists in need of restrooms, fuel and food.

Capt. David K. Points, Turnpike State Police commanding officer, urged motorists to wear seat belts and use child-safety restraints. “Seat-belt and child-restraint laws will be strictly enforced, especially during peak travel times associated with the upcoming holiday periods,” he said. “We want everyone on the Turnpike to safely reach their destinations.” He also cautioned motorists to obey posted speed limits on the Turnpike and all roadways, especially considering the increase in the number of cars and trucks on the road during the holiday.

Bright yellow emergency call boxes located every mile both east and westbound along the Turnpike should be used by motorists who experience breakdowns, accidents or other incidents. Help can also be called by dialing *11 on a cellular phone or utilizing the toll-free emergency number posted on service-plaza payphones.


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