|Pa. Turnpike Expects Heavy Traffic for Labor Day Weekend
Pa. State Police plans to crack down on aggressive driving over the holiday.
|Pennsylvania Turnpike officials are anticipating more travelers this holiday weekend with nearly 2.7 million vehicles expected to hit the highway during the four-day Labor Day weekend – an increase over last year’s count. To prepare for the surge in travel, roadway maintenance and construction activities will be suspended from Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. until Sept. 4 at 6 a.m. This will allow all travel lanes to be open to traffic except in the case of emergencies.
Construction activity that does not impact travel lanes may continue behind protective barriers in some areas, thereby reducing shoulder widths. However, at least two lanes in each direction will remain open except possibly during an emergency.
Turnpike motorists should be prepared for possible delays and congestion at interchanges during peak travel times on Friday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Monday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Drivers should remain alert and cautious, particularly during those peak periods.
With heavy traffic volumes expected, Pennsylvania State Police will be looking for aggressive drivers. Captain Gregory M. Bacher of Troop T, the unit responsible for patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike, said that patrols and enforcement efforts will be increased to ensure holiday-traveler safety.
"It can be a challenge to get motorists to change behavior when some don't even know they drive aggressively," says Capt. Bacher. "If you speed excessively, tailgate or weave in and out of traffic, you're most likely going to be pulled over by one of our troopers and cited." Troop T will also be on the lookout for motorists who are texting while driving and people not wearing their seatbelts.
Throughout the weekend, Turnpike maintenance crews and safety patrols will monitor the highway, ready to assist travelers in case of an accident or breakdown. To report an accident or incident, Turnpike customers should call the traffic-operations center directly by dialing *11 (or 1-800-332-3880) on a mobile phone or activating one of the yellow emergency call boxes along the roadway.
To promote safe driving this Labor Day holiday, the Turnpike is sponsoring a Safety Break event at the Allentown Service Plaza on the Turnpike’s Northeastern Extension in Lehigh County on Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"We promote a text-free Turnpike and want drivers to realize it’s not safe to take your eyes off the road even for a second," said the Turnpike's Manager of Customer Safety Joseph L. Rispoli. “That’s why the Turnpike’s smartphone app, TRIP Talk, is a great way to keep informed of traffic situations,” added Rispoli. Trip Talk streams audio advisories to iPhone and Droid users so they can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. To download the free app, visit http://www.paturnpike.com/triptalk.
Labor Day travelers are encouraged to plan ahead before traveling by calling the Turnpike Roadway Information line, 866-976-TRIP (8747) for real-time traffic alerts or visiting the Turnpike's live Travel Conditions Map online at www.paturnpike.com. The Turnpike reminds travelers that the Peter J. Camiel Service Plaza in Chester County will be closed for repairs and will remain closed for future remodeling. It is scheduled to reopen in May, 2014 with a spacious food court, more food selections and contemporary restroom facilities.