HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Thursday it expects more than 2.1 million motorists will travel on the Turnpike over the Memorial Day holiday weekend -- an increase of more than 1 million over last year's tally of 1.2 million over the same period.
But PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton is cautioning motorists to remember to drive safely, especially in the heavy traffic conditions expected over the next few days.
“While many of our customers are returning to the roadway after more than a year, we are seeing concerning trends showing that many who are driving now are forgetting their safe-driving behaviors," Compton said in a press release. “Motorists are driving at excessive speeds, as well as using their cellphones more frequently and for longer periods of time.
“As the summer season begins, we want to reinforce safe-driving behaviors. Please put your phones down so you won’t be tempted to respond to a text or call while driving. Also be alert to your speed and what is happening on, and along, the roadway. Speeding coupled with distracted driving is a highly dangerous combination that, unfortunately, we are now seeing as a more frequent occurrence.”
Pennsylvania State Police are echoing Compton's reminder.
“As motorists travel this holiday weekend, their focus should remain on the roadway to avoid tragic outcomes,” emphasizes Corporal Holly Reber-Billings of the PA State Police’s Troop T. “Troop T wants everyone to have a safe and happy Memorial Day. Since we do expect more traffic this holiday weekend, our troopers will be working hard to keep you safe. Please do your part to reduce traffic incidents by giving driving your full attention.”
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.
The traffic breakdown is projected as follows over the four-day period, starting Friday:
- Friday, May 28 – 718,000 vehicles
- Saturday, May 29 – 523,000 vehicles
- Sunday, May 30 – 454,000 vehicles
- Monday, May 31 – 487,000 vehicles
To help accommodate holiday traffic, the Turnpike said it will suspend maintenance work and have all available lanes open in each direction beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 through 11 p.m. on Monday, May 31.
The Turnpike reminded travelers it 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, as vehicles travel at posted speed limits through tolling points.
With 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 any of the Turnpike’s service plazas may experience service delays as fewer food concepts are available, the Turnpike Commission said. This is due to lower staffing levels related to the pandemic.
Fully vaccinated patrons are not required to wear masks in the service plazas. This policy aligns with recent CDC changes.
For more service plaza information, click here.