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

Contact:  

Kathy Liebler (717)939-9551 ext. 2840

December 19, 2002



PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE PREPARES 
FOR HOLIDAY TRAVELERS

Harrisburg, PA -- With an estimated three million vehicles traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike this holiday period, Turnpike officials have made plans to see that everyone arrives at their destinations safe and sound.

“We devote much time and effort to help ensure that our customers have a safe and enjoyable journey across Pennsylvania,” said Turnpike Executive Director John T. Durbin. “We want Turnpike travelers to reach their destinations safely to celebrate the holiday season with their families and friends,” he said.

 Encouraging motorists to make sure their vehicles are in good traveling condition, Turnpike officials advised travelers to check things like hoses, tires and batteries before leaving home, they can avoid unwanted delays.  It is also advisable for travelers to call the Turnpike’s toll-free information line at 1-800-331-3414 or log onto www.paturnpike.com to check Turnpike roadway and weather conditions across the state.

Durbin added, “With the increased traffic over the holiday period, our E-ZPass customers will enjoy the ease and convenience that the technology offers, particularly avoiding backups at toll plazas.”   Reminding customers that commercial vehicles can now use E-ZPass, he asked customers to look for flashing yellow lights that designate E-ZPass only lanes and to obey the 5-mile per hour speed limit traveling through the lanes.  “The safety of our customers and employees is of the utmost importance,” Durbin said.  

All lanes of the roadway will be open and free of construction and maintenance activity throughout the holiday from 3 p.m. Friday, December 20 through 7 a.m. Monday, January 6. Turnpike maintenance crews, safety patrols and the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T will increase patrols and officials will be available to aid stranded motorists. Troopers will look for speeders and drivers who appear to be sleepy or intoxicated.

To avoid becoming drowsy, drivers should take advantage of the ‘Pike’s 21 service plazas open 24-hours a day, seven days a week where they will find hot meals, clean restrooms and many other services for their added convenience.

If in need of assistance while on the roadway, motorists will find yellow emergency call boxes at one-mile intervals along the entire Turnpike. Cell phone users can reach the Turnpike’s communication center by dialing star 1-1 (*11) or 1-800-332-3880.

Over dimensional vehicles will not be allowed on the Turnpike during the holiday period.   No permits will be issued on vehicles exceeding 10-feet wide, 85-feet long, 13 ˝-feet high and 100,000 pounds gross vehicle weight from sundown Monday, December 23 to sunrise Thursday, December 26.

In case of snow, safety officials suggest the following:

Ţ                Stay behind the snowplow if possible but DO NOT TAILGATE.
Ţ               
To avoid being in the truck’s blind spot, always keep the snowplows’ 
            outside mirrors in sight.
Ţ               
If you must pass a snowplow, signal first and try to avoid riding side-by-side
            with the plow.
Ţ               
If visibility is poor, consider waiting out the storm at the closet service plaza.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

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