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


Bill Capone (717) 939-9551, ext. 3040
Kathy Liebler (717) 939-9551, ext. 2840

December 24 , 2003



Harrisburg , PA – The Pennsylvania Turnpike will be in holiday season travel mode over the next two weeks to facilitate customers in their journeys to holiday visit destinations.

Some three million vehicles are expected to use parts of the 531-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike system during the coming Christmas and New Year's celebrations. Joseph G. Brimmeier, the Commission's Chief Executive Officer, said the safety of all drivers and occupants is the toll road agency's top priority.

“The holidays can be hectic so we want to make travel on the Turnpike as enjoyable and stress-free as possible,” Brimmeier stated. “Traffic volumes will be heavy. Be patient and give yourself plenty of travel time. We want our customers to get to their destinations and return home, safe and sound.”

All construction and maintenance jobs involving temporary lane restrictions will be suspended from 3 pm Friday, Dec. 19, 2003 until 6 am Monday, January 5, 2004 .

In addition, permitted over-dimensional vehicles (over 10 feet wide, 85 feet long, 13.5 feet high and 125,000 pounds) will not be allowed on the Turnpike system from sundown Tuesday, Dec. 23 to sunrise Friday, Dec. 26, and from sundown Tuesday, Dec. 30 to sunrise Monday, January 5.

Turnpike maintenance crews are prepared to work around the clock to keep the highway clear of snow and ice. Safety patrols and Pennsylvania State Police Troop T will have an increased presence, watching for stranded motorists and erratic or aggressive drivers.

“Buckle up, watch your speed, be courteous and create space between other vehicles,” advised Captain David K. Points, Troop T commanding officer. “The more space you create around your vehicle, the better chance you'll be able to successfully react if something happens.”

State Police also advised motorists who have to stop to get as far off the road as they can, to use a wide pull-off area if possible, and to utilize their emergency flashers.

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 .

Motorists in need of assistance will find yellow emergency call boxes at one-mile intervals. Cell phone users can reach the Turnpike's communications center 24 hours a day by dialing star 1-1 (*11) or 1-800-332-3880.

Prospective customers can check highway and weather conditions by dialing

1-800-331-3414 or by visiting www.paturnpike.com . As usual, the Turnpike's 21 service plazas will be open day and night offering hot meals, clean restrooms, convenient ATM machines, fuel and other travel-related services.

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


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