Motorists are being urged to keep safety in mind this Thanksgiving as holiday travel puts millions of vehicles on the nation’s highways starting today and continuing until Sunday.
The West Virginia Parkways Authority is expecting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday to be the busiest two travel days on the West Virginia Turnpike during the Thanksgiving holiday period from today to Sunday, Nov. 26.
An estimated 715,000 total transactions are expected to take place at the turnpike’s three toll booths in that six-day period, authority officials said.
“Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving week are typically two of the busiest travel days we experience on the West Virginia Turnpike during the entire year” said Jeff Miller, executive director of the Parkways Authority.
In Washington D.C., members of Congress urged travelers to be safety conscious during this year’s holiday season.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan resolution offered by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Reverend Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. encouraging Americans nationwide to exercise greater caution in their holiday travels amid a period of historically increased traffic incidents and fatalities. The Senate passed their bipartisan Drive Safer Sunday Resolution unanimously.
“The Sunday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest—if not the busiest—travel day in our country,” Capito said. “Our resolution encourages everyone that will be on our roads to drive carefully because safety is and will always be my top transportation priority.”
On Wednesday, 155,000 transactions are expected to take place on the West Virginia Turnpike with 160,000 transactions expected on Sunday.
Around 130,000 transactions are expected today with another 65,000 transactions estimated on Thanksgiving Day and another 80,000 transactions estimated on Friday. On Saturday, the West Virginia Parkways Authority estimates around 125,000 transactions at Turnpike toll booths.
“As always, the West Virginia Parkways Authority will be fully prepared for high volumes of travel during Thanksgiving week,” Miller said. “In addition to toll operations and maintenance being fully prepared, we will have additional traffic flaggers staged at each toll plaza, as well as additional troopers from West Virginia State Police Troop 7 and Courtesy Patrol members for motorist assistance.”
Miller urged motorists to plan and organize their trip through the West Virginia Turnpike to minimize time at the toll booths.
The tolls for passenger vehicles are $4.25 per plaza.
To get an E-ZPass or to renew an existing E-ZPass, go to Welcome to the West Virginia Parkways E-Z Pass on the internet.
Drivers may also apply in person at the West Virginia Parkways Authority E-ZPass Customer Service Center, 3310 Piedmont Road, Charleston, WV 25306 or at the Beckley Customer Service Center located at 12 Pikeview Drive, Beckley, WV 25801.
The Drive Safer Sunday Resolution designates the Sunday after Thanksgiving as “Drive Safer Sunday” and encourages:
• K-12 schools, colleges, teachers, and administrators to launch campus-wide educational campaigns to urge students to focus on safe driving.
• Trucking firms to alert employees to focus on safe driving the Sunday after Thanksgiving and publicize its importance on the Citizens Band Radio Service and at truck stops.
• Clergy to remind congregations to travel safely when attending services.
• Law enforcement to remind drivers and passengers to drive safely.
• Americans wear seat belts and educate themselves about highway safety.