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
Kay Rew (610) 279-1645, Ext. 3788

May 21, 2003


For current roadway/weather conditions, travelers urged to call 1-800-331-3414 or visit www.paturnpike.com before departing.

Harrisburg, PA – After a particularly long, cold winter, the official kick-off for the summer season has finally arrived. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is prepared to handle more than 1.8 million customers over the 2003 Memorial Day weekend as they travel across the Commonwealth.

Executive Director Joseph G. Brimmeier, reminding travelers that, as always, customer safety is the Turnpike’s top priority, said, “We want the Memorial Day weekend to be a safe and happy one for everyone traveling the Turnpike.”  He urged that motorists obey all Pennsylvania traffic laws and drive with care.

To accommodate motorists, all travel lanes of the Turnpike will be open and free of construction and maintenance activity from Thursday, May 22, 2003, 3 p.m. to Wednesday, May 28, 2003, 6 a.m. 

Pennsylvania State Police Troop T officers, as well as the Turnpike’s maintenance and safety personnel, will patrol the highway from Friday, May 23, 2003, 12:01 a.m. to Monday, May 26, 2003, midnight.  Commanding Officer of PSP Troop T Captain David K. Points said, “We ask motorists to buckle up, drive safely and be courteous to other drivers. Please stay off of the phone while driving.  If you must make a call, we urge you to pull off of the roadway to a safe area.”

Motorists are advised to check their vehicles for problems like worn belts and leaky hoses before embarking on their journeys. Once on the roadway, travelers are encouraged to take frequent breaks at any of the Turnpike’s 21 clean, well-lit multi-concept service plazas, open 24/7.   A cup of coffee along with exercise and fresh air helps prevent drowsiness while driving long distances.

If emergencies do arise, the Turnpike’s Operations Center is a phone call away. Emergency call boxes are located at one-mile intervals all along the 531-mile roadway. If using a cell phone, help can be obtained by dialing star  *11 or 1-800-332-3880.   If traffic delays occur, check for announcements on the ‘Pike’s Highway Advisory Radio at 1640 AM and watch for messages on Variable Message Signs stationed along the highway.

 To further enhance safety during the holiday weekend, oversized and overweight commercial vehicles will be prohibited from traveling the Turnpike from sundown, Thursday, May 22 to sunrise, Tuesday, May 27.  

While traveling this holiday weekend, customers can shop for fresh, in-season produce and homemade pastries, jellies and jams at the Turnpike’s Farmers Markets.  The markets are located on the mainline at the 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 and on the Northeastern Extension at the Allentown Service Plaza (north and southbound at milepost 55.9).

Brimmeier reminded motorists that such holiday weekends are an ideal time to take advantage of the Turnpike’s E-ZPass program.  “With increased traffic over the holiday, our E-ZPass customers will enjoy the ease and convenience the technology offers, avoiding backups and delays at toll lanes.”

To sign up for E-ZPass or obtain more information about the program, customers can call 1-877-736-6727 or visit the Turnpike’s website at www.paturnpike.com.


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