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Pennsylvania Turnpike and state police preparing for busy Memorial Day travel weekend

Turnpike, state police prepare for holiday travel
Turnpike, state police prepare for holiday travel 02:21

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Memorial Day holiday weekend kicks off the return to a summer travel season we haven't seen in three years.

With it comes concern from the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Pennsylvania State Police about what you'll experience this weekend.

The numbers are amazing, 2.2 million drivers are expected just on the turnpike this weekend.

Add in the interstate and that's a lot of people on the roads.

To say the Pa. Turnpike is concerned would be accurate.

"While we appreciate the return of traffic post-pandemic, we're very concerned about the skills and the habits of those drivers," said Pa. Turnpike COO Craig Shuey.

Just how crowded will the roads be?

Know that if you're heading out tomorrow, Friday is the biggest travel day of the weekend with more than 770,000 drivers on the turnpike alone.

That is three-percent more than pre-pandemic levels so on the turnpike and on the interstates, Pennsylvania State Police are pulling out all the stops.

"Pennsylvania State Police is going to be out and about doing a variety of different safety initiatives," said Lieutenant Adam Reed of the state police. "We're seeing more aggressive driving, more speeding, and more carelessness on our roadways and that's very concerning to us."

Lt. Reed explained that aggressive driving is one of the key factors in the crashes we see. That means anything from speeding to tailgating, to cutting off other motorists.

So, expect stepped-up enforcement to start tonight on all roads, not just the turnpike.

While most people leave tomorrow, they stagger and others wait until Saturday.

Returns are also staggered so the volumes are more like 460,000-540,000 on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

When planning your holiday trip, leaving earlier is better to get ahead of the working crowd that won't leave until later in the day when they get off of work.

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