A whopping 6.3 million people are expect to take the PA turnpike for the late December holidays this year, a jump from last year’s nearly six million.
Luckily for many travelers who have not already left, the busiest days are behind them. PA Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton believes Thursday and Friday of last week saw the heaviest traffic.
“Most of the traffic is expected to be spread out over the holiday week,” said Compton. “However, this year many holiday travelers will head out on Thursday, Dec. 20.”
For many in Lower Bucks, those days also had heavy rains. Still, a strong economy with low gas prices are bringing out merry travelers in droves.
“While there may be a white Christmas in parts of Pennsylvania with heavy rain and snow in the forecast for later this week, the weather does not seem to be a deterrent for those heading out for the holidays,” Compton continued.
To help the record setting numbers for this time of year, all lanes are open on the Turnpike and all construction is on hold until 11 p.m. on Jan. 1. In addition, free coffee will be available on New Year’s Eve from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. at all Turnpike service plaza vendors, excluding Starbucks.
Police are also doing their part to keep the roadways safe. An increased police presence and safety patrols will ensure anyone drinking under the influence faces justice.
However, even sober drivers should make sure they are driving safely. Lt. David Devitt of PA State Police “Troop T,” says officers will enforce the law on aggressive and distracted drivers. Swerving in and out of traffic or texting while driving make the road unsafe for everyone.
“With millions of travelers on the roadway this week and next, many will be driving long distances, under stress, and in hazardous conditions, said Lt. Devitt. “Please allow yourself extra travel time. Keep your eyes on the road and be mindful that the weather can change quickly across the Turnpike.”