If traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the next couple weeks, expect traffic, increased policing, and free coffee.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) projects nearly six million motorists will travel between Friday, December 22 and January 1. The PTC CEO Mark Compton said this is the busiest time of the year for “long-distance travel periods.”
“There really is no place like home for the holidays,” Compton shared. “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.”
On Dec. 22 and Jan. 1, the Turnpike predicts to see more than 650,000 vehicles on the roadway. The lightest travel days are expected to be Dec. 25 and Dec. 31 with 400,000 motorists, followed by Dec. 24 with 450,000.
Construction will be suspended to ensure all lanes are open during the holiday period to help with traffic flow. For safety, the PTC also planned for increased police and maintenance patrols along the highways.
Lt. David Devitt of Pennsylvania State Police “Troop T,” explains police focus will be on “moving violations” to ensure families get to their destinations.
Police responded to several incidents over the Thanksgiving holiday in which, according to officials, could have been avoided. Cpl. Holly Reber-Billings advises’s drivers to leave early to give extra time in their travels, properly buckle up, and to keep their eyes on the road.
The holiday season brings a usual weather concern. In parts of Pennsylvania, light freezing rain or sleet is in the forecast for Dec. 22 carrying into the Dec. 23 with some snowfall expected in the afternoon.
Another important note for drivers free coffee!
On Christmas Day all Turnpike plazas in the Sunoco A-Plus Convenience Stores will serve free coffee. Then on New Year’s Eve, Sunoco and HMSHost will offer free coffee, except Starbucks, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on January 1.
WBCB’s Renee Washington contributed to this post.