The PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) today projected that six million motorists will travel the Turnpike during the holiday period beginning on Friday, Dec. 22 and concluding with the new year on Jan. 1.
“Our travel projections would seem to attest that there really is no place like home for the holidays,” said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “Typically, the Christmas through New Year holiday period is among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year with 90 percent of travel occurring by car. Most of the traffic is expected to be spread out over the holiday week. However, this year many holiday travelers will head out on Friday, Dec. 22. That day we expect 650,000 vehicles on our roadway.”
With the safety of travelers in mind, the Turnpike 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.”
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.
The PA Turnpike has planned accordingly for heavy traffic. 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
To report an accident or other emergencies on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone. If there is an accident, move the car out of travel lane and onto shoulder, if possible, and stay in the vehicle. For more information about PA Turnpike conditions or to contact us, use one of these resources: