May 22, 2019 News Release

PA Turnpike’s “Remembrance Event” Kicks Off Holiday Weekend on Serious Note

More than 2.2 million motorists are expected to travel the Turnpike over the Memorial Day holiday weekend

BENSALEM, PA (May 22, 2019) — Today 2,000 employees across the Pennsylvania Turnpike wore orange, the color connoting roadway safety, and took part in a Work Zone Safety Remembrance event to honor their 45 colleagues and friends who died while performing their duties. The event also served as a somber reminder for motorists to obey posted speed limits and to be aware of the presence of roadway workers at all times. Sixty-eight percent of work zone crashes occur in areas in which workers are present.

Today’s event, which included a moment of systemwide silence, took place at the Turnpike’s Trevose Maintenance Facility and was broadcast to all Turnpike employee offices across the 550-mile system. Turnpike CEO Mark Compton led the ceremony. “This event is a solemn reminder of everything we face on our roadway,” said Compton. “Every minute of every day we are mindful that many on our roadway team, in maintenance and fare collection, are working mere inches away from live traffic.”

“Tragically, many times the driving public is not aware of how one lapse in their judgement or attention can change so many lives forever,” said Turnpike Commissioner Pasquale Deon who also commented on the holiday upsurge in traffic. “So today, as we honor the memory of those who were lost and remember their lives, we also commit to doing everything in our power to see that work zone safety is top of mind for anyone driving on the PA Turnpike.”

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, which is the most popular season to travel the PA Turnpike. The PA Turnpike’s traffic numbers from the Memorial Day holiday through Labor Day stand at more than 63 million vehicles. During the upcoming holiday more than 2.2 million vehicles are anticipated to travel the PA Turnpike from Friday through Monday.

“Pennsylvania State Police Troop T will have an increased number of patrols to assist the more than two million drivers who will be on the PA Turnpike over the course of the next several days,” said Corporal Steven Ranck of Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the troop in charge of Turnpike patrols. “Last year during the Memorial Day holiday we cited 2,588 drivers for speeding, distracted driving and seatbelt violations. But more importantly, as today’s event points out, those statistics are not just numbers, they can, and do, represent real people, real lives, real danger.

“We don’t want to put a damper on the first weekend of summer. However, if you make safety – particularly work zone safety­­ -- your habit, the summer can be a happy memory for everyone.”

Traffic will be the heaviest this Friday afternoon and Monday evening so travelers should plan accordingly. The full holiday traffic breakdown is as follows:

  • Friday, May 24 --760,000 vehicles are expected to travel;

  • Saturday, May 25 -- 540,000 vehicles are expected to travel;

  • Sunday, May 26 -- 440,000 vehicles are expected to travel; and

  • Monday, May 27-- 485,000 vehicles are expected to travel.  

To help accommodate heavier holiday traffic, the Turnpike will suspend maintenance work and have all available lanes open in each direction beginning at 3 p.m. on May 23 through 11 p.m. on May 27.

How to get help:

For emergencies  

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is ready to provide support to all Turnpike motorists who need emergency assistance 24/7 365 days a year. If you are in an accident, stay in your vehicle and call *11 on a cell phone to alert the PA Turnpike Operations Center to your location and need for assistance. Learn more about knowing what to do in an emergency  

For travel conditions 

Road conditions are constantly changing, so the PA Turnpike wants to make sure you are informed before you head out the door and while traveling.  

For more information on work zone safety click here:

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