Editor's note: The following information comes from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike reassures travelers that it is ready to handle the increased traffic that’s expected and confront any wintry weather that may occur during the holiday period. Turnpike officials expect more than 4.1 million vehicles will travel the Turnpike from Monday, Dec. 24 through Tuesday, Jan. 1 with the heaviest traffic period being Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
"Regardless of what weather lies ahead, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is prepared to provide the highest level of service and the safest possible roadway," said Turnpike acting CEO Craig Shuey.
The Turnpike's maintenance department is committed to providing a safe highway throughout the year. To keep the highway safe during the holiday, all construction and maintenance work will be modified to allow full use of the roadway; all lanes will be available beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 21 until 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2013.
"Our objective is to keep the roadway clear and maintain bare-pavement conditions if or when a snowstorm hits," said Director of Maintenance, Todd S. Garrison. "This demonstrates our commitment to provide the clearest possible surface, and it distinguishes us from other roads."
During the holiday, extra State Police will patrol the Turnpike, looking for speeders, aggressive motorists, drunk and aggressive drivers and disabled vehicles. Added maintenance crews will also be on hand to battle the weather and provide assistance.
In addition, the State Farm Safety Patrol - made up of Turnpike vehicles staffed by Turnpike workers - will patrol the roadway to identify and report problems and render aid. During the holiday, the red-and-white safety patrols will be augmented with supplementary Turnpike safety workers.
The holiday season is an ideal reason to take advantage of the award-winning turnpike smartphone app, called TripTalk [link added, link has autoplay video --ed], available for Droid and iPhone users. TripTalk informs users what’s ahead on the turnpike letting them keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while steering clear of delays caused by holiday backups or accidents.
Travelers can also get real-time roadway information by calling 1.866.976.TRIP (866.976.8747) or by checking the Turnpike's web page, www.paturnpike.com. Holiday travelers are encouraged to check conditions from home before they depart.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season.