HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is expecting two million vehicles on the Turnpike this Memorial Day weekend. With such heavy volumes, motorists are being asked to keep alert and stay focused as they travel over the four-day holiday weekend.
"Memorial Day is one of the heaviest traveled holidays of the year for the turnpike, so we need drivers to pay attention and keep both hands on the wheel," said Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "We also remind holiday travelers that it's against the law to text and drive, so keep your eyes on the road and stay focused."
To make driving easier for holiday travelers, the Turnpike plans to suspend maintenance work and have all lanes in each direction available for traffic beginning at 3 p.m. today and ending at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. In the event of emergency lane restrictions, the Turnpike will activate its Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory System (1640 AM) to inform motorists of conditi ons. Motorists should obey posted speed limits and move over for stopped emergency vehicles.
"Drivers need to pay attention and obey the speed limits, especially in work zones. With so many people traveling this holiday weekend, it's more important than ever to travel at a safe speed, don't tailgate and definitely don't text and drive," said Capt. Gregory M. Bacher of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the troop in charge of Turnpike patrols.
With more than 860,000 motorcyclists in the state, Compton reminds travelers to beware of motorcycles on the Turnpike.
"May is motorcycle-safety month, and this weekend typically attracts a higher number of bike riders to our system, so please watch for motorcycles - especially when changing lanes," he said
Just in time for the holiday, the Peter J. Camiel Service Plaza in Chester County located westbound at milepost 305, will reopen at 5 p.m. today. The renovated plaza has a spacious food court, different foo d selections and a contemporary restroom facility. With the completion of Peter J. Camiel plaza, 15 of the 17 plazas have been reconstructed to date.
To promote safe driving, the PTC is holding a Safety Break event at the Sideling Hill Service Plaza in Fulton County to enlighten drivers on the dangers of distracted driving and other safety tips. The Safety Break will be held on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the plaza, accessible to eastbound and westbound travelers, on the mainline Turnpike at milepost 172.
The Turnpike will host more Safety Break events during the summer and fall. The other dates and locations are: June 20, South Somerset Service Plaza, Somerset County; July 3, South Midway Plaza, Bedford County; Aug. 29, Sideling Hill Service Plaza, Fulton County; Oct. 3, Hickory Run Service Plaza, Carbon County; Nov. 26, New Stanton Service Plaza, Westmoreland County.
All events are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Turnpike travelers can save time and m oney by getting E-ZPass. To find a retail location, go to www.paturnpike.com/ezpass.
Travelers wanting real-time roadway information can call 866-976-TRIP (8747) or visit the online Travel Conditions Map at www.paturnpike.com/webmap. The smartphone app, TRIP Talk, streams audio advisories to iPhone and Droid users so they can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. To download the free app, visit www.paturnpike.com/triptalk.
To report emergencies while travelling the Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone or deploy one of the call boxes on the shoulder. Be ready to provide your milepost location when calling *11.