Travel Advisory

    May 21, 2020


PA Turnpike Emphasizes Safe Driving in Light of Recent Trends
While there are fewer motorists projected to travel the Turnpike over the holiday weekend
those on the roadway are forgetting safe-driving behaviors.


HARRISBURG, PA (May 21, 2020) —The PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) projects more than 1.1 million motorists will be traveling the Turnpike over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This is fewer than half of last year’s travelers which was a tally of more than 2.2 million during the same holiday period.

“While the pandemic has kept many customers off our roadway, there is no safety in lower traffic numbers because many who are driving now are forgetting their safe-driving behaviors,” says Mark Compton, PA Turnpike CEO. “In fact, because there are no traffic queues, motorists are driving at excessive speeds, as well as using their cellphones more frequently and for longer periods of time.”

“Our patrols have cited a number of motorists who are driving at speeds of 100 mph or greater,” reports Lt. David Devitt, Pennsylvania State Police, Troop T, Highspire. “Speeding coupled with distracted driving is a dangerous combination.  As motorists resume travel for the holiday weekend, their focus should remain on the roadway to avoid tragic outcomes.  For this reason and your own safety, it's important to put down your cellphone and watch your speed.”

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 holiday traffic, the Turnpike will suspend maintenance work and have all available lanes open in each direction beginning at 3 p.m. on May 21 through 11 p.m. on May 25. The traffic breakdown is projected as follows over the four-day period starting Friday:

  • May 22 – 375,000 vehicles
  • May 23 – 225,000 vehicles
  • May 24 – 250,000 vehicles
  • May 25 – 275,000 vehicles

Friday afternoon and Monday evening would be when traffic is heaviest.

As a temporary safety measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Turnpike is not accepting cash and credit cards on its mainline ticket system. All tolls are assessed electronically via E-ZPass or the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program as vehicles travel at posted speed limits through tolling points. With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass through. The registered vehicle owner receives an invoice within 30 days for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail. For more electronic-tolling information, click here.

Motorists using Turnpike service plazas should keep in mind that no inside dining or seating is available at this time. Limited menu selections are available for take-out. Patrons should not congregate, and everyone is encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance. For more service plaza information, click here.

CONTACT: Carl DeFebo, 717-645-2265 or Rosanne Placey, (717) 675-4362