3.5M vehicles expected on PA Turnpike over Labor Day holiday

September 23, 2018

A truck passes through the toll station at the interchange of Interstate 376 and the Turnpike in Monroeville on Monday, Jan. 2, 2016.

Those planning to travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for a Labor Day weekend getaway may want to start as early as Thursday to avoid heavy traffic, turnpike officials suggest.

The turnpike expects 3.5 million vehicles to make use of the toll road from Thursday through Tuesday. Heaviest traffic, an estimated 750,000 vehicles, is expected on Friday, peaking on Friday afternoon.

“Travelers might think that heading out by noon on Friday will give them a jump on the holiday traffic,” Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said in a press release. “But you may want to consider getting on the road earlier on Friday, or even on Thursday if you can, as it may save you time in the long run.”

Thursday should see the second highest number of vehicles on the turnpike, about 685,000, according to officials.

Other traffic estimates for the weekend include 510,000 vehicles each on Saturday and Monday, 450,000 on Sunday and 615,000 on Tuesday.

To help keep traffic moving, turnpike officials are increasing staffing and suspending all construction and maintenance work over the weekend. All lanes are to be open in each direction from 3 p.m. Thursday through 11 p.m. Monday.

State police also will have extra turnpike patrols on duty.

Authorities cautioned motorists to avoid becoming distracted while driving and to plan regular breaks to keep from becoming fatigued on longer trips.

According to state law, motorists who come upon emergency vehicles that are stopped to provide roadside assistance must move over into another lane if they can safely do so. If not, they should slow down while passing the emergency scene.

Information about turnpike traffic conditions is available by tuning to 1640 AM near a turnpike interchange, visiting https://www.paturnpike.com/webmap or calling 866-976-8747.

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