Millions are driving for Memorial Day this year, but what are the busiest days and times?

22 May 2024- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PA Turnpike) is preparing for the start of the summer travel season and reminding drivers to ramp up for seasonal travel. 

During the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, from May 23 through May 27, the PA Turnpike projects 2.9 million motorists will head to their holiday destination via the Turnpike. This year’s forecast reflects a 1.5% increase from the same period in 2023.

Travelers should note the traffic breakdown over the five-day period starting Thursday, with Friday slated to be the heaviest travel day:

DateTotal Passenger Cars and Trucks
Thursday, May 23680,000
Friday, May 24710,000
Saturday, May 25540,000
Sunday, May 26480,000
Monday, May 27490,000

While travelers may be excited to get away for the long weekend, the PA Turnpike emphasizes that drivers be courteous on the road to help them focus on getting to their destinations safely.

Pennsylvania State Police Troop T will have increased patrols over the holiday weekend to respond to incidents as they unfold, ensure motorists are practicing proper driving habits and take action against illegal or unsafe behaviors such as speeding, aggressive and distracted driving.

The PA Turnpike will have an increased number of GEICO Safety Patrol safety teams throughout the roadway that are there to respond to travelers in need of assistance. All roadway construction and maintenance projects will be suspended beginning Thursday, May 23 at 3 p.m. until Monday, May 27 at 11 p.m. to ensure as many lanes are open as possible.

Those heading west Sunday should note traffic could be slower in the Somerset to New Stanton corridor from 3 to 5 p.m. as the Run for the Wall veteran’s organization is hosting a vehicle motorcade that will traverse the Turnpike. More than 300 motorcyclists traveling from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and the Flight 93 National Memorial, Somerset County, will travel west from the Somerset Interchange, exit 110, starting at approximately 3:25 p.m. Sunday. The motorcade is planning a fueling stop at the New Stanton Service Plaza, milepost 77, around 3:55 p.m. before exiting at the New Stanton Interchange, exit 75, and continuing onto Interstate 70 toward their final destination at the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Illinois.

While traveling through an active work zone this summer, motorists may see speed limit enforcement signs. This is part of the statewide Work Zone Speed Safety Camera (WZSSC) program, which the Pennsylvania Legislature recently made permanent as part of the state’s commitment to public safety. In work zones with a WZSSC vehicle, electronic speed timing devices detect and record vehicles exceeding work zone posted speed limits by 11 mph or more. Violators receive a warning on a first offense and fines for any following offenses. During the five-year pilot program, there was a 38% reduction in speeding in work zones (1 mph or more over the speed limit), a 47% reduction in excessive speeding in work zones (11 mph or more over the speed limit), and work zone crashes declined by up to 50% when a speed enforcement vehicle was present.

In addition to planning your trip for off-peak hours, visit Ramp up for Seasonal Travel | PA Turnpike for tips to prepare for traveling on the PA Turnpike as well as understanding the services and amenities along the way.