Media & Public Relations

Contact: Carl DeFebo
Phone: 717-920-7176
July 01, 2009
Pa. Turnpike Prepares for Busy Independence Day Weekend

State Police remind travelers to buckle up, slow down and use common sense.

HARRISBURG, PA (07/01/2009)(readMedia)-- With nearly 2 million vehicles expected on the Pennsylvania Turnpike this Thursday through Monday, officials are emphasizing safety during the upcoming Independence Day weekend, urging travelers to slow down and use common sense on the highway.

To prepare for the surge of travelers, turnpike maintenance and construction work will be suspended beginning 3 p.m. today through 6 a.m. on Tuesday July 7, and all lanes will be open to traffic except in emergencies. In the event of emergency-lane closures, the turnpike will activate its Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radio System (1640 AM) to inform motorists of conditions.

"Even though all turnpike travel lanes should be open, motorists still need to watch out for slow-moving traffic and heavy volumes today through Sunday," said Cpl. Rick Dean of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T. "When driving in heavy traffic, turn on your headlights, maintain speed and keep sufficient distance from the vehicle ahead -- don't tailgate."

The turnpike also reminds motorists and passengers to wear seat belts every time they get into a vehicle. "Wearing a seat belt can save your life if you are involved in a crash, just ask any firefighter, EMT or police officer," said Cpl. Dean. "So be sure to buckle up, slow down, and use common sense out on the road."

To better plan ahead for holiday trips, Pennsylvania Turnpike motorists can get real-time information about roadway conditions via the Turnpike Roadway Information Program, or "TRIP," by visiting or calling 1-866-976-TRIP. Officials advise motorists headed for the turnpike to check out conditions before they leave.

To further encourage safe behavior during the Independence Day weekend, the turnpike is sponsoring "Take-a-Break" safety events at two of its busiest travel plazas tomorrow. The turnpike will host "Take-a-Break" safety events July 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Allentown Service Plaza on the Northeastern Extension and the Sideling Hill Service Plaza on the east-west mainline.

The theme for the Take-a-Break events is, "You're never alone on the PA Turnpike," and motorist-safety forces will be on hand to demonstrate how they watch out for travelers. Maintenance crews and equipment, the State Farm Safety Patrol, State Police troopers, fire companies and authorized-service providers will assemble apparatus and personnel on site to communicate the importance of safety.

The Allentown plaza is between the Lehigh Valley and Quakertown exits on I-476 and the Sideling Hill facility is between the Breezewood and Fort Littleton exits on I-76. The two travel plazas, which had been completely renovated and reopened in 2008, are accessible to traffic from both directions.