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


Kay Jenkins Rew
email: krew@paturnpike.com

July 7, 2003



Well over 4.5 million customers are expected to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike as they travel to their destinations this Fourth of July weekend. Turnpike officials are reminding motorists to use extra caution as they drive across the Commonwealth.

Chief Executive Officer Joseph G. Brimmeier said, “Independence Day falls on a Friday this year which translates into a long weekend for most travelers. We urge customers to make safety the priority as they drive all Pennsylvania roadways.”
In order to accommodate motorists, all travel lanes of the Turnpike are open, with construction and maintenance activity suspended Friday, June 27th through 6 a.m. Monday, July 7. Additionally, there will be increased Pennsylvania State Police and safety patrols throughout the entire holiday period. Troopers will enforce the State’s traffic laws and all Turnpike safety officials will be available to assist motorists.

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.

Commanding Officer of PSP Troop T Captain David K. Points said, “We are taking several proactive steps over the holiday weekend and are fully prepared to deal with all emergencies.” He reminded motorists to pull over to a safe area before using cell phones and emphasized there will be state and local sobriety checkpoints in the vicinity of some Turnpike interchanges.
Officials urged motorists get plenty of rest before embarking on a journey, have their cars checked before leaving home and make frequent rest stops at any of the Turnpike’s 21 multi-concept service plazas, all open 24/7, offering a variety of food and services. Customers can call the Turnpike’s toll-free customer assistance line at 1-800-331-3414 to check on the latest roadway, traffic and weather information.

If an emergency occurs, travelers can call for help by using the Emergency Call Boxes located at one-mile intervals along the entire 531-mile roadway, or call star 1-1 (*11) or 1-800-332-3880 on their cell phones. If traffic delays occur, motorists can turn to 1640 AM for travel updates and watch for Variable Message Signs stationed along the highway.
While traveling over the holiday, customers can visit the Turnpike’s Farmers’ Markets now open featuring fresh, in-season produce as well as homemade pastries, jams and jellies. The markets are located on the Northeastern Extension at the Allentown Service Plaza (accessible both north and southbound at milepost 55.9), and on the mainline Turnpike at the Valley Forge (eastbound only, milepost 324.6), Sideling Hill (eastbound and westbound, milepost 172.3) and New Stanton (westbound only, milepost 77.6) Service Plazas.

Pointers For Motorists

Now that the summer travel season is in full swing, the Turnpike offers these tips to help hasten holiday and rush-hour traffic at the toll plazas:

Be sure to spread out and use every available lane as you move toward a toll plaza. Quickly survey all lanes, and choose the shortest queue (that you can safely access without cutting someone off). Outside lanes at the far left and right tend to be underused. Make sure that you check the traffic approaching from behind before changing lanes at toll plazas.

Cash customers, have toll and ticket in hand — and window rolled down — before stopping at the booth to pay. Once the transaction is complete, immediately pull away. Do not pause at the booth as this slows down traffic at the rear.

You don’t have to be a daily Turnpike commuter to get the benefits of E-ZPass. Holiday travelers can also experience the convenience of the technology allowing customers to pay tolls electronically without having to stop to exchange tickets or cash. To sign up, call 1-800-PENN-PASS or visit www.paturnpike.com.

Important traffic advisories and updates will be broadcast on the Turnpike’s Highway Advisory Radio frequency at 1640am. As you approach any Turnpike exit, be sure to tune in for vital information and alerts.
Motorists who will be driving the Turnpike this holiday period are reminded to be alert for stopped or slow moving traffic.


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