CHARLESTON — The governor and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program Monday encouraged motorists to exercise caution when traveling for Thanksgiving while a travel forecast for the holidays was issued for the West Virginia Turnpike.
“As Thanksgiving approaches and travel ramps up, let’s keep safety front and center on our roads,” Gov. Jim Justice said.
“Be mindful of fellow travelers, buckle up and soak in the stunning West Virginia scenery as you travel to be with loved ones,” he said. “Above all, let’s pledge not to drive under the influence. Your journey matters, so look out for each other, drive smart, and let’s ensure all our families get to enjoy the season together.”
The Highway Safety Program has joined with the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating and being grateful with loved ones, and we want to make sure that West Virginians close to home or traveling arrive at their holiday destination safely,” said Amy Boggs, occupant protection coordinator, for the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Whether you’re driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving table, or 10 hours, it’s important that drivers and passengers buckle up, and children are properly restrained in the appropriate car seat or booster for their weight and height,” Boggs added.
The program also is partnering with law enforcement to conduct a statewide impaired driving prevention enforcement mobilization surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. If planning to drive, refrain from alcohol or drugs during Thanksgiving celebrations.
“Driving while impaired is illegal. You could kill yourself or someone else on the road. Impaired driving is not acceptable, especially when there are so many safe alternatives to get you home safely,” Boggs said. “Let’s show gratitude by being responsible drivers so that we keep ourselves and all road users safe.”
In the meantime, 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.
About 715,000 total transactions are expected to take place at the turnpike’s three toll booths in the six-day period, the authority 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” Jeff Miller, executive director of the Parkways Authority, said.
On Wednesday, 155,000 transactions are expected to take place on the Turnpike with 160,000 transactions expected on Sunday. For today, the authority estimated 130,000 transactions, 65,000 transactions on Thanksgiving Day and 80,000 transactions on Friday.
On Saturday, the authority estimates 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.”
Motorists should plan and organize their trip through the West Virginia Turnpike to minimize time at the toll booths, Miller said.
A new or renewed E-ZPass is available at https://tinyurl.com/yckkma4w.
However, there are only two places where drivers can apply in person: the West Virginia Parkways Authority E-ZPass Customer Service Center, 3310 Piedmont Road, Charleston; or the Beckley Customer Service Center, 12 Pikeview Drive.
The tolls for passenger vehicles are $4.25 per plaza.
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