Pennsylvania Turnpike expects nearly 3.5 million vehicles

HARRISBURG — As the busiest travel time of the year fast approaches, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is asking motorists to be courteous and stay alert while driving.

Approximately 3.45 million drivers are estimated to be traveling the turnpike over the Thanksgiving holiday from Nov. 22 through Nov. 27. Heaviest traffic volumes are anticipated to be on Tuesday from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon until approximately 8 p.m. turnpike officials have noticed that Tuesday before Thanksgiving is now one of the busiest travel days, so that day has been factored into the traffic numbers.

“As the earlier holiday travelers combine with our commuter and commercial customers, drivers need to be very aware of their surroundings,” turnpike CEO Mark Compton said in a press release. “Staying alert and being courteous while traveling is a must.”

To keep the highway safe, all construction and maintenance work will be modified to allow full use of the roadway; all lanes will be available beginning at 5 a.m. on Nov. 22 until 11 p.m. on Nov. 27, except in case of emergencies. Some construction activity that does not impact lanes may continue behind barriers in limited areas, reducing shoulder widths.

Safety is also being stressed by the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the division in charge of turnpike patrols, by asking motorists to obey the posted speed limits and slow down while traveling through toll plazas. Troopers will be looking to make sure motorists are obeying posted speed limits and keeping their eyes on the road.

“With millions of vehicles on the roadway over the holiday, motorists now more than ever need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while driving,” Captain Paul S. Gustaitis, Commanding Officer of State Police Troop T said in a press release. “Our troopers will be patrolling the turnpike looking for people texting while driving to stop that kind of behavior.”

Motorists should be aware of the probability of slow-moving and even stopped traffic throughout the holiday. Turnpike maintenance crews, safety patrols and the state police will be on the roadway to assist stranded motorists, keep traffic moving and respond to emergencies. Motorists are encouraged to move over for all emergency responders.

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