Pennsylvania Turnpike

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  The nearly 1,000 bright yellow emergency call boxes along the Pennsylvania Turnpike could disappear soon, thanks to the prodigious growth of cell phones and House Bill 1335.

State Rep. John Lawrence’s (R-Chester) bill would amend state law, which currently requires the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to provide and maintain emergency call boxes for turnpike drivers. The amendment, if passed, would eliminate this requirement.

For the seventh consecutive year Pennsylvania turnpike tolls will increase on Jan. 4.

The 5 percent increase affects both EZPass users and cash payers, but the EZPass will still save customers about 35 percent. Right now a person traveling from Pittsburgh (Monroeville) to Breezewood pays $8.97 with an EZPass or $12.60 with cash, and these prices will rise to $9.42 and $13.23 respectively.

If you will be traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, you’ll have company….lots of company.

The Turnpike Commission expects 2.7 million vehicles using the toll road from Tuesday until Monday December 1.

“The day before Thanksgiving is our single busiest travel holiday of the year,” says Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo. “We’re expecting more than a half million vehicles (Wednesday) across the turnpike system. “

More than 112,000 vehicles run on compressed natural gas (CNG) in the United States, the majority of which are commercial fleets, according to the Department of Energy, and those motorists now have one more place to fill up in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials Thursday unveiled three CNG fueling stations at the New Stanton Plaza in Westmoreland County. It is the first of the turnpike’s 17 plazas to offer the alternative fuel and is only accessible for westbound travelers.

Pennsylvania Cautiously Boosts Speed Limit

Jul 29, 2014
Ann Rosener / Library of Congress/Wikipedia

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, like a young driver, has a history of suddenly speeding up and slowing down.

In the 1940’s, the speed limit was 70, which was dropped to 65 during World War II. It shot back up to 70 in the 1950’s but the gas shortage of the late 1970’s led the speed limit to be cut all the way down to 55 mph.

Now, the speed limit is 65 and will soon be boosted to 70 on interstate roads, following a trial period on carefully chosen roads, including a section of the turnpike between Blue Mountain exit 201, and Morgantown exit 298.

With a speed limit of 70 mph already in Ohio and West Virginia, is it about time for PA to match up with neighboring states? Renee Vid Colborn, Manager of Media and Public Relations at the PA Turnpike Commission and State Senator Jay Costa addressed the pros and cons of an increased speed limit for area highways.

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are going up for the seventh straight year.

The turnpike commission Tuesday approved a 5 percent increase that will take effect in January.

Officials say the increase will be applied evenly to cash and electronic E-ZPass tolls — marking the first time in three years that cash tolls are not subject to a steeper increase.

About three out of four turnpike drivers now use E-ZPass.

Car charging stations are popping up like spring flowers this Earth Day. 

The Pennsylvania Turnpike officially unveiled its charging stations Monday and Pittsburgh International Airport followed suit Tuesday. 

The chargers on the Turnpike were installed this year at a pair of service plazas; Bowmansville Service Plaza in Lancaster County located eastbound at milepost 290 and King of Prussia in Montgomery County, located westbound at milepost 328. 

It took the cooperation of two government agencies and a private corporation to get the stations installed.

A judge says he is sending a case alleging corruption in Pennsylvania Turnpike business to county court for trial.

District Judge William Wenner ruled Tuesday that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to warrant a jury trial. He ruled following four hours of closing arguments in the preliminary hearing against former Sen. Bob Mellow and five other defendants.

More than 190 million vehicles travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike each year — about 520,000 a day.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have worked to make that drive as easy as possible, and now they are asking for your help.

PennDOT and the commission have released a survey looking for travelers’ opinions on the services the agencies provide.

State AG: Culture of Corruption 'Won’t Ever Be Eliminated'

Apr 18, 2013

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane doesn’t believe it’s possible to rid the state of corruption, but her office is working to set an example to public officials through prosecution.  

In an interview today with 90.5 WESA's  Essential Pittsburgh program, Kane discussed the scandal in the Turnpike Commission.

While it wouldn’t happen in the near future, a new bill could put the Pennsylvania Turnpike into new hands.

State Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) has introduced legislation to abolish the Turnpike Commission and turn over operation of the toll road to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The bill comes in response to the 44-month grand jury investigation that culminated in charges in March against eight individuals.

Eight Charged in T-Pike "Pay to Play" Scandal

Mar 13, 2013

Eight people are being charged for their alleged involvement in what the state attorney general is calling a “pay to play” scheme at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said a grand jury investigation, which began in 2009 after public complaints, found that the Turnpike Commission has been awash with improper influence.