November 16, 2017

PA Turnpike expects Thanksgiving to be busiest travel holiday of the year

Total traffic volumes projected to exceed 3.5 million during six-day period.

HARRISBURG, PA (Nov.16, 2017) —One week away from Thanksgiving and the PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) is projecting that 3.55 million cars and trucks will travel the Turnpike during the six-day period, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 21 and ending Sunday, Nov. 26.

“We appreciate that family, friends, food and festivities are the focus of the Thanksgiving holiday season,” said Mark Compton, PTC CEO. “We also know that millions will be travelling our roadway to celebrate those traditions and have planned accordingly so motorists will not be detained by scheduled maintenance or construction. All lanes are slated to be open and additional safety, maintenance and state police patrols will be on hand.”

Beginning 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21 until 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26 all lanes in each direction of the Turnpike will be open and available to accommodate heavier traffic volumes. All scheduled maintenance and construction projects will be suspended during these times.

Nov. 21 and 22 are projected to be the most heavily traveled days on the Turnpike with 725,000 vehicles expected both days. The periods of heaviest traffic volumes will be:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 3 until 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 22, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 26, from noon until 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 23, will be the least traveled day with 510,000 motorists on the road, followed by Friday, Nov. 24 with 515,000 motorists.

“Distracted driving is among the top reasons for crashes and fatalities on the PA Turnpike,” said Corporal Holly Reber-Billings of State Police Troop T. “Any distraction that interrupts a driver’s concentration can be hazardous. At this busy time of year, when there typically are more passengers in vehicles, it’s extremely important to stay focused and pay attention to the roadway. When you turn your head to check on passengers in your car, your steering wheel often follows. Stop at a safe location to see what might be happening in the back seat.”

If motorists are going a long distance it’s helpful to plan for regular breaks.  Taking a break at least every two hours increases a driver’s level of alertness.

The PTC now uses the following to keep fully apprised of the safety of motorists:

  • *11 and 911 cell calls by passers-by
  • Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV)
  • Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Troop T
  • The PA Turnpike-run State Farm Safety Patrol program.

To report an accident or other emergencies on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone. For more information about PA Turnpike conditions or to contact us, use one of these resources:


  • Variable & Digital Message Signs — some 100 signs along the Turnpike
  • Highway Advisory Radio — 1640 AM (tune-in near interchanges)



Waze — a crowd-sourced navigation app that provides real-time traffic conditions with input from other drivers; download at

    Rosanne Placey, (717) 831-7507 or Carl DeFebo, 717-831-7176