September 02, 2021 Travel Advisory

Summer Closes with Stormy Weather and Final Family Trips for Labor Day Holiday

Travelers should use extra caution due to changing conditions and distracted drivers.

HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 2, 2021) —More than 2.7 million people are projected to be taking their last family trip for the summer season on the PA Turnpike during the Labor Day holiday for the six-day period beginning Sept. 2 and ending Sept. 7. This is a 5.6 percent decrease in holiday traffic during the same travel period in 2019.

“As summer comes to an official close and the remnants of Hurricane Ida subside, families may be considering travel options closer to home this year,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “If so, we remind those traveling by car that speeding, and distracted driving have become much more acute since the pandemic. Travelers should be alert, properly prepared, and expect some delays and changes in weather.”

Friday, Sept. 3, is expected to be the busiest travel day. The full traffic projections follow here:

  • Sept. 2 — 650,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system;
  • Sept. 3 — 700,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system;
  • Sept. 4 — 520,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system;
  • Sept. 5 — 440,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system;
  • Sept. 6 — 450,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system;
  • Sept. 7 —590,000 vehicles are expected to travel the system.

Typically, summer is the busiest season for the PA Turnpike with many motorists traveling the roadway for the first time. This year, many more travelers are choosing recreational vehicles (RV) to accommodate their family vacations. For the RV traveler, the PA Turnpike has created a special web section to assist with travel planning. Visit and click on Ramp Up for Summer Travel or click here.

The PA Turnpike will have patrols and safety teams throughout the system who are there to assure travelers get safely to their destination. That means responding to travelers in need of assistance, as well as, taking action against illegal or unsafe behaviors. 

To help accommodate heavier holiday traffic, the Turnpike will suspend maintenance and construction work and have all available lanes open in each direction beginning 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2 through 11 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 6.

Since converting to all-electronic tolling in 2020, the Turnpike no longer uses cash or credit cards on its ticket system. All tolls are assessed electronically via E-ZPass or the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program. Customers can also use the PA Toll Pay app to pay their TOLL BY PLATE invoice or manage their E-ZPass account. You can search and download “PA Toll Pay,” free of charge, on Google Play or in the Apple store.

For more electronic-tolling information, click here.

Motorists using any of the Turnpike’s service plazas may experience service delays as fewer food concepts are available. This is due to lower staffing levels related to the pandemic.

For more service plaza information, click here.

To report an accident or other emergency on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 via mobile phone. To learn more about PA Turnpike conditions, use one of these resources:


  • 511PA Smartphone App: real-time, hands-free PA traffic advisories
  • Digital Message Signs: more than 100 boards along the Turnpike



  • 511: dial from any PA roadway for local travel information

Pennsylvania Turnpike Customer Assistance Center: 1-877-736-6727, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.



  • Carl DeFebo, 717-645-2265
  • Rosanne Placey, (717) 675-4362