CONTACT: Renee Vid Colborn
Phone: 717-831-7507
December 21, 2015


Pennsylvania Turnpike Ready for Holiday Traffic


Motorists advised to plan ahead and stay alert.



HIGHSPIRE, PA. (DEC. 21, 2015) — As the holiday season swings into full gear, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) wants travelers to know it is ready to handle the heavy anticipated traffic volumes. More than 4.2 million vehicles are expected to travel the Turnpike from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, 2016. The heaviest travelled days will likely be Dec. 28-30 with 550,000 vehicles per day expected; Dec. 24 is expected to be the second heaviest single day at 500,000 vehicles.

It could be a record-breaking winter holiday if last month’s holiday travel trend continues. Unseasonably warm weather and low fuel prices helped drive record-setting traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 3.34 million vehicles traveled the system between Nov. 24 and Nov. 29 —up roughly 3 percent from the previous record-setting year in 2010. Heaviest traffic volume was seen on Nov. 25 (day before Thanksgiving), when more than 680,000 vehicles were on the toll road.

To keep the highway safe and traffic flowing, all construction and maintenance work will be suspended to allow full use of the roadway; all lanes will be available starting 3:00 PM tomorrow until 11 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2016 except in the case of emergencies. Turnpike maintenance crews will be on patrol assisting with debris removal and any emergencies that may occur.

“The Pennsylvania Turnpike is prepared to provide the highest level of service and the safest possible roadway,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark Compton. “We want motorists to get to their destinations safely, so they also need to be aware of their surroundings and stay alert on the roadway,” Compton added.

During the holiday, State Police Troop T, the division in charge of Turnpike patrols, will also be out patrolling the Turnpike looking for drunk drivers, speeders and aggressive motorists. “With heavy traffic on the roadway, people need to take extra precautions and keep enough distance between vehicles,” said Commanding Officer of State Police Troop T, Captain David L. Cain. “Following too closely could result in accidents.”

In case of emergency, dial *11 on your mobile phone. This toll-free number connects you with a traffic operations center dispatcher who will alert responders. You'll need to tell the dispatcher your milepost location. If you can't use a mobile phone or don't know your location, use one of the bright-yellow call boxes located along the shoulder.

In addition, the State Farm Safety Patrol — made up of Turnpike vehicles staffed by Turnpike workers — will patrol the roadway to identify and report problems and render aid to disabled motorists.

The holiday season is an ideal time to take advantage of the award-winning Turnpike smartphone app, TripTalk, for Droid and iPhone users. TripTalk provides users with audio alerts about road conditions and any closures on the Turnpike, letting them keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while steering clear of delays caused by holiday backups or accidents.

Motorists can also get real-time roadway information by calling 1.866.976.TRIP (866.976.8747) or by checking the Turnpike's web page, Travelers are also encouraged to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for Turnpike updates.

Finally, to keep interstate traffic flowing during the holiday season, the Turnpike reminds drivers to heed Pennsylvania's "drive right, pass left" rule, as the signs say. Stay in the right travel lane except to pass another vehicle, and never pass on the right.

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