Yesterday afternoon, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike announced that rest areas and welcome centers are being shut down.
“All PennDOT rest areas and welcome centers statewide will be closed to the public effective 12:01 AM Tuesday, March 17, 2020. These rest area and welcome center closures are in addition to those previously announced in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties,” PennDOT said in a statement.
Following that announcement, the Pennsylvania Turnpike announced that all Turnpike service plazas are also shutting down bathrooms and fast food locations.
“As a COVID-19 safety measure, the #PATurnpike will limit services at ALL service plazas beginning at midnight tonight in accordance with Commonwealth travel limitations.
✔️OPEN fuel pumps (NO fuel at Allentown Service Plaza due to construction)
✔️OPEN convenience stores
❌NO fast food
❌NO public restrooms, Portable toilets will be available.
Go to www.paturnpike.com for more information.”
Justifiably outraged truck drivers expressed their frustrations:
Adrienne Riel commented, “Closing restrooms?! We are NOT using porto-potties given the current situation, and no hand-washing. No thanks. You’re going to be finding a lot more messes along your shoulders and pull-off areas. Personally I’ll avoid taking the turnpike from now on. Just as easy and much cheaper to take I-80 to 322 to get to Harrisburg from Ohio, and better places to fuel and eat, too. Thanks for throwing us under the bus during a time of need, truckers and motorists alike.”
Suz Hannon, commented, “Our truck drivers are one of our biggest heroes right now and this directly effects them!”
Cyndee Jean posted, “Seriously… no bathrooms? For these truck drivers that are trying their damndest and working more to get supplies to the essential stores. This is just ridiculous, I can see shutting down half the bathroom so you dont have to clean so many but how in H-E- double hockey sticks are portable potties going to be the safer thing. Are they going to be cleaned every hour???”
This news is especially hard-hitting given that truck drivers are working tirelessly to deliver groceries and supplies and will need a safe place to park.
The Turnpike also announced that they have stopped allowing cash/credit.
“The #PATurnpike will cease accepting cash/credit tonight on its mainline ticket system statewide and will temporarily activate All-Electronic Tolling (AET) on March 16, at 8 p.m. This temporary measure is to protect employee and public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“After 8 p.m. tonight:
Do NOT stop at tollbooths, travel at posted speed limits through toll plazas.
Cash and credit cards will NOT be accepted anywhere on the mainline ticket system.
Non- E-ZPass customers should continue to use lanes marked ‘Tickets’ on entry and ‘Cash’ on exit. You will be billed via E-ZPass or by mail through PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE.”