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PENNDOT urging motorists to drive safely during upcoming July Fourth holiday period

PENNDOT secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. and Pennsylvania State Police commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller are urging motorists to drive safely and plan extra travel time during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
“Motorists should plan ahead for the upcoming holiday and drive according to traffic and weather conditions,” said Biehler. “Observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive and always were seatbelts.”
According to a press release issued Thursday, PENNDOT will make every attempt to remove lane restrictions and other high-volume expressways for the Fourth of July Holiday, but some travel restrictions will remain in effect on the larger road projects.
Secretary Biehler added that the vast majority of work zone crashes involve speeding, aggressive driving and tailgating.
“Motorists must pay attention to the warning signs, maintain a safe distance around vehicles and use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly,” said Biehler.
State Police commissioner Miller said troopers will participate in Operation C.A.R.E., a national program aimed at reducing crashes on interstate highways during holiday weekend driving periods.
As part of Operation C.A.R.E., an acronym for Combined Accident Reduction Effort, troopers will engage in highly visible, aggressive traffic law enforcement activity, particularly in areas that have been identified as high-crash locations.
Col. Miller said eight persons were killed and 285 others were injured in 577 crashes to which troopers responded during last year’s official Fourth of July holiday driving period, covering July 3-6. Of the eight persons killed, non was wearing a seat belt according to Miller.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up and properly restrained before you turn the key,” he said. “Once on the road, use simple common sense. Don’t speed and don’t tailgate. The goal is to get to your destination safely, not to get there in record time.”
During last year’s holiday driving period, state police issued 5,690 speeding violations; charged 193 people with driving under the influence; cited 163 for not wearing seat belts and issued citations to 28 people for not securing children in safety seats.
To report maintenance concerns on the state highways, motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623) toll free, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Motorists can log on to PENNDOT’s construction web site to view travel restrictions on interstate and other major traffic routes planned over the Fourth of July Holiday.
Visit the PAPowerPort at: www.state.pa.us and type “construction” as a keyword.
This year’s official holiday driving period runs from Friday, July 2 through Monday, July 5.
Roads in the area which are expected to have restrictions include portions of Interstate 99 in Blair County and portions of U.S. Route 322 in Centre County.
On Interstate 99, restrictions are for the I-99 bridge rehabilitation, traffic reduced to a single lane in each direction between Exit 15 (Claysburg/King) and Exit 23 (PA 36/PA 164, East Freedom), reduced speed in the work zone.
In Centre County, four portions of Route 322 are affected including the Port Matilda bypass where reduced speed and narrow lanes are in place for approximately one mile west of Port Matilda.
Also affected, Route 322, one mile east of the U.S. Route 220 slit up to Skytop; restricted in some places to one lane, westbound traffic on Route 322 restricted to one lane between State Route 550 and Skytop.
Other restrictions along Route 322 in Centre County are along the State College Bypass; traffic restricted to one lane in each direction between the Innovation Park and Valley Vista exits.
Restrictions are also in place from the rest stop at the top of Seven Mountains; west to end of the four-lane (approximately one mile) traffic restricted to one lane in each direction.