November 16, 2018 News Release

PA Turnpike Expects Thanksgiving to be Busiest Travel Holiday of the Year

PA Turnpike Expects Thanksgiving to be Busiest Travel Holiday of the Year

HARRISBURG, PA (Nov. 16, 2018) —While there may be no place like home for the holidays, if you are traveling by car, the PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) is projecting that 3.7 million cars and trucks will travel the Turnpike during the six-day period, beginning Tuesday, Nov. 20 and ending Sunday, Nov. 25.

“Even though Pennsylvania has already experienced its first winter storm, it’s Thanksgiving that marks the official beginning of the winter holiday travel season,” said Mark Compton, PTC CEO. “As we have already seen this week, hazardous and changing weather conditions can lead to a spike in auto accidents. When you factor in the additional traffic on the roadways during the week ahead, the risk is even higher. Driving safely and having a well-maintained vehicle is more important than ever this time of year.”

Beginning 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20 until 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25 all lanes in each direction of the Turnpike will be open and available to accommodate heavier traffic volumes, except during possible emergencies. All scheduled maintenance and construction projects will be suspended during these times.

November 20 and 21 are projected to be the most heavily traveled days on the Turnpike with 750,000 vehicles expected both days. The periods of heaviest traffic volumes will be:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 20, from 3 until 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 25, from noon until 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 22, will be the least traveled day with 535,000 motorists on the road, followed by Friday, Nov. 23 with 550,000 motorists.

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 uses the following to keep fully apprised of the safety of motorists:

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

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)


  • Turnpike Roadway Information Program (toll-free) — 866-976-TRIP (8747)
  • Customer Assistance Center (toll-free) — 800-331-3414 (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)



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