Turnpike traffic up 30 percent Thanksgiving week as out-of-state travelers experience the beauty of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike was up nearly 30 percent during the week of Thanksgiving as out-of-state travelers experienced the state’s beauty and hospitality.

Nearly 733,000 vehicles went through Turnpike toll booths between Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 and Sunday, Nov. 28, almost 30 percent more than during the same period in 2020.

The busiest days on the Turnpike were the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Nearly 157,000 vehicles went through Turnpike toll booths on Wednesday, Nov. 24, while more than 165,000 passed through on Sunday, Nov. 28.

“Most of the cars I was seeing were out-of-state cars, which means thousands of people went home with pleasant memories of their trip through West Virginia,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority.

Whereas some toll roads around the country are using their space for commercial advertising, the West Virginia Turnpike instead emphasizes promoting the Mountain State. The Parkways Authority teamed up with the West Virginia Tourism Office for a series of colorful wrappings for Turnpike toll booths that provide a positive image of what West Virginia has to offer visitors.

Over the holiday week, members of the West Virginia State Police and the state Courtesy Patrol helped Turnpike motorists who would have otherwise been stranded. In one case, the Courtesy Patrol changed a tire for a couple who got a flat not far from a Turnpike toll booth. In another, they provided fuel for a woman who thought she had enough gas to get to the next exit, but didn’t.

Thousands of Turnpike motorists also stopped to visit Tamarack, Turnpike travel plazas, and welcome centers, all of which had strong sales during the holiday week.

Miller attributes the smooth flow of traffic during the week to extra staff on hand to help direct motorists. Polite and efficient toll booth staff, plus extra State Police and Courtesy Patrol presence also contributed.

Increased use of the E-ZPass Single Fee Discount Plan, which gives drivers unlimited use of the Turnpike for an annual fee of $26.25, also helped. The E-ZPass automatically flags drivers through toll booths, easing congestion and saving time for motorists.

Those with an E-ZPass have until Jan. 1, 2022 to renew their Discount Plan. To get an E-ZPass, or to renew an existing E-ZPass, visit www.wvturnpike.com. Drivers may also apply in person at the West Virginia Parkways Authority E-ZPass Customer Service Center, 3310 Piedmont Road, Charleston, West Virginia 25306, or at the Beckley Customer Service Center located at 12 Pikeview Drive, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.

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