HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBNF) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Wednesday that six million motorists will travel the turnpike during the holiday period beginning Friday, Dec. 22 and ending Jan. 1.
With all those drivers in mind, turnpike officials have offered the following information to allow travelers to plan ahead:
- Light freezing rain or sleet is expected Dec. 22 in parts of Pennsylvania.
- Dec. 23 is slated to be rainy across the state with a brief period of snowfall during the afternoon. As temperatures fall, any wet roads could become icy.
- The lightest travel days are projected to be Dec. 25 and Dec. 31 with 400,000 vehicles, followed by Dec. 24 with 450,000 vehicles.
- Dec. 22 and Jan. 1 will be the most congested days for traveling with 650,000 motorists on the Turnpike each day.
Motorists should not be detained by any scheduled maintenance or construction projects. All lanes will be open beginning 5 a.m. on Dec. 22 until 11 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. Construction projects are suspended during this time.
Free coffee will be served at all Turnpike service plazas on Christmas Day in the Sunoco A-Plus Convenience Stores. On New Year’s Eve, both Sunoco and HMSHost will offer free coffee at all food vendors (except for Starbucks) from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Jan. 1
Turnpike officials will increase police, safety and maintenance patrols throughout the holiday period.
According to Lt. David Devitt of Pennsylvania State Police “Troop T,” the increased police patrols will focus on moving violations and ensuring that families are getting safely to their destinations.
“Over the Thanksgiving holiday we responded to numerous incidents that could have been avoided by planning ahead, staying focused and being certain everyone in the car was properly buckled,” said Cpl. Holly Reber-Billings. “At this time of year allow yourself extra time to get to your destination. Keep your eyes on the road, not your phone, and be mindful that the weather can change quickly across our system.”
More information is now available for drivers for their holiday and future travels through www.511PA.com, Pennsylvania’s statewide travel information service.
Motorists can now see any travel alerts on state roads along a specific route when they enter “start” and “end” points, and additional weather information is available for dozens of roadway sites across the state.
To view travel information tailored to a driver’s specific route, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has added the “Check My Route” tool through which users enter “start” and “end” points and see travel alerts for state roadways along the defined route. During the winter, the tool also shows when each road was last plowed.
511PA also now features images and information from 69 PennDOT Road Weather Information System Sites along major state roadways. Each “Weather Station” shows a photo along with temperature, wind and precipitation information for that specific location.