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November 21, 2016 5:00 PM, EST

Pennsylvania Turnpike Expects Nearly 3.5 Million Vehicles During Holiday Weekend

About 3.45 million drivers are estimated to be traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike over the Thanksgiving holiday from Nov. 22 through Nov. 27. Heaviest traffic volumes are anticipated to be on Nov. 22 from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Nov. 27 from noon until about 8 p.m. Turnpike officials have noticed that the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is now one of the busiest travel days, so that day has been factored into the traffic numbers.

“As the earlier holiday travelers combine with our commuter and commercial customers, drivers need to be very aware of their surroundings,” Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said. “Staying alert and being courteous while traveling is a must.”

To keep the highway safe, all construction and maintenance work will be modified to allow full use of the road; all lanes will be available beginning at 5 a.m. on Nov. 22 until 11 p.m. on Nov. 27, except in case of emergencies, the turnpike commission said. Some construction activity that does not affect lanes may continue behind barriers in limited areas, reducing shoulder widths.

Safety is also stressed by the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the division in charge of turnpike patrols. Police ask motorists to obey the posted speed limits and slow down while traveling through toll plazas. Troopers will be looking to make sure drivers are obeying posted speed limits and keeping their eyes on the road.

“With millions of vehicles on the roadway over the holiday, motorists now more than ever need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while driving,” said Captain Paul S. Gustaitis, commanding officer of State Police Troop T. “Our troopers will be patrolling the turnpike looking for people texting while driving to stop that kind of behavior.”

Motorists should be aware of the probability of slow-moving and even stopped traffic throughout the holiday. Turnpike maintenance crews, State Farm Safety Patrols and the State Police will be on the road to assist stranded motorists, keep traffic moving and respond to emergencies. Motorists are encouraged to move over for all emergency responders.

In case of an accident, breakdown or other emergency, drivers can summon assistance by calling *11 on their cellphones. Be prepared to give the milepost location and direction of travel, and move the vehicles involved out of active travel lanes if possible.

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