|Pa. Turnpike Expects Heavy Independence Day Traffic
Travelers are reminded to slow down, watch for distracted drivers.
|The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) expects more than 2.7 million vehicles to be traveling the Turnpike over the July 4 holiday. That figure is up from the 2.5 million vehicles seen last year. With that volume of traffic expected, the PTC is asking motorists to stay alert and be aware of distracted drivers.
In preparation for the surge of traffic, Turnpike maintenance crews plan to maximize the use of the roadway by opening all available lanes to traffic beginning at 3 p.m. on June 27 through 6 a.m. on July 7 except in the case of emergencies. In the event of emergency-lane closures, the Turnpike will activate its Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radio to alert motorists.
"We will have additional maintenance personnel available all next week right through the holiday weekend to patrol the road and help with any emergencies, debris removal or customer needs," says Todd S. Garrison, director of maintenance.
As the holiday traffic increases, so will the patrols by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), which plans to have troopers out enforcing speed limit and no-texting laws.
"Speeding and texting while driving all lead to problems on the roadways," states Captain Gregory M. Bacher of PSP Troop T (the unit in charge of Turnpike patrols). "Texting while driving and aggressive driving will not be tolerated, so motorists should expect to see our troopers out there in full force deterring this type of behavior."
To promote safe driving, the Turnpike is sponsoring a "Safety Break" event at the South Midway Service Plaza on the eastbound Turnpike just past the Bedford Exit (#146) in Bedford County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 3. Information about the Turnpike and its preferred traveler programs will available, and staff will be on hand to answer questions.
Motorists traveling the Turnpike can dial *11 on their mobile phone in case of emergencies or deploy one of the call boxes on the shoulder. Be ready to provide your specific milepost location to the dispatcher when calling *11.
To better plan ahead for holiday trips, Turnpike motorists are encouraged to call the Turnpike Roadway Information line, 866-976-TRIP (8747) for real-time traffic alerts or visiting the Turnpike's Travel Conditions Map online at www.paturnpike.com. The Pa. Turnpike's smartphone app, TRIP Talk, streams audio traffic 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.