With increased construction zones in the area and holiday traffic on the rise for the Fourth of July, Pa. State Police officials are hoping for a safe weekend.
"We see an increase in traffic during pretty much any holiday," said Trooper Bruce Morris of the Ridgway-based state police. "The most significant one, believe it or not, is Thanksgiving, as we see an increase in DUIs along that time as well. You have college kids coming back on a break, you have hunters coming in for the deer season, so that's usually the biggest one out of all of them.
"Any of the summer travel times, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, you see a big increase in traffic. It's definitely a huge increase and since the Fourth of July falls on a Monday, we see the big increase starting [Friday]."
According to a press release issued from the Pennsylvania State Police Troop C out of Punxsutawney, "speed is the leading cause of traffic crashes and Troop C troopers will be focusing enforcement efforts on drivers who do not obey the speed limit."
Construction zones, which will most likely be inactive over the holiday weekend, will also be patrolled accordingly.
"Any construction increases the chances of an accident during a holiday season and any time you congest traffic and back it up, even if it's a non-operating work zone over the holiday, because of it being a more congested area, it without a doubt increases the risk of a crash," Morris said. "A lot of people think an increase in traffic during the holidays pertains to just interstates, but [state Route] 219 is a major north-south corridor.
"When you move into a holiday weekend especially, you can sit right along [state Route] 219 at our driveway at [the Ridgway State Police] barracks-- on Friday you'll see nothing but New York cars going southbound, and Maryland and West Virginia will be going north. It will then switch itself and reverse after the holiday.