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


May 22, 2002

All Turnpike construction and maintenance work will be halted for the holiday.

HARRISBURG PA. (May 22, 2002) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission urges motorists to obey posted speed limits, buckle up and watch out for aggressive drivers during the busy Memorial Day period — one of the most heavily traveled holiday weekends of the year. Pennsylvania State Police will be patrolling the Turnpike in full force all through the holiday.

“We expect more than 2 million vehicles will be traveling on the Turnpike during the weekend,” said Pennsylvania State Police Capt. David K. Points, commander of Troop T which is responsible for patrolling the Turnpike. “We are placing additional Troop T officers on duty Memorial Day weekend to help ensure the safety of Turnpike travelers and to strictly enforce the traffic laws.”

All Turnpike maintenance and construction work will be suspended beginning 3 p.m. Thursday May 23 through 6 a.m. Wednesday May 29, and all lanes will be open to traffic (except in emergencies). In the event of lane restrictions, the Turnpike will activate its Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radio System (1640AM) to inform motorists of roadway problems. During the weekend, increased maintenance staff will be standing by to respond to customer assistance calls and emergencies.

“According to an AAA survey, more Americans plan on traveling this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year, but fewer will be flying,” said Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin. “Plus, gasoline prices are expected to remain stable or perhaps even fall a few cents, meaning we could be in for an especially busy holiday as far as traffic. Therefore, it becomes even more paramount to use extra caution when driving this weekend.”

Motorists should be aware of the potential for slow-moving traffic and heavy volumes, especially during the afternoons and evenings on both Friday and Monday
. When driving in slow traffic, motorists should turn on their headlights, maintain speed and keep ample distance from the vehicle ahead.

As an extra safety precaution, over-dimensional commercial vehicles (trucks exceeding 8-1/2 feet wide, 85 feet long, 13-1/2 feet high or 100,000 pounds gross weight) will be restricted from traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike beginning sundown Thursday May 23 to sunrise Wednesday May 29.

To avert distracted or drowsy driving, motorists are reminded to stop at any of the Turnpike’s 21 service plazas for a safety break. Plazas are open 24 hours a day and offer a variety of food and drink choices. Travelers are also reminded that the Turnpike’s Farmers’ Markets will be open this weekend. Markets are located at Allentown (north and southbound on the Northeastern Extension), Valley Forge (eastbound only), Sideling Hill (east and westbound), and New Stanton (westbound).

Travelers can call the Turnpike’s toll-free customer assistance line at 1-(800)-331-3414 for roadway, traffic and weather conditions before leaving for their destination. Also, motorists can browse the Turnpike web page at www.paturnpike.com for pertinent information on travel, construction and other Turnpike news.

In case of an accident, breakdown or medical emergency, motorists who require assistance on the Turnpike can utilize one of the bright-yellow emergency call boxes located along the shoulder at one-mile intervals. In such an event, it is crucial that the vehicle be moved away from active travel lanes and every effort is made to keep a safe distance from moving traffic. Cellular phone users can dial *11 to receive needed emergency aid. Be prepared to give your exact milepost location and direction of travel when you call.


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