Parkways Authority anticipates over 1 million transactions from travelers on W.Va. Turnpike

BY JARETT LEWIS

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Parkways Authority said it will be a busy holiday travel season on the West Virginia Turnpike, but nothing it hasn’t seen before.

It’s expected that 1.33 million transactions will be made on the Turnpike over a 13-day travel period through Jan. 2, 2024, with today expected to be the busiest travel day during that time.

West Virginia Parkways Authority Executive Director Jeff Miller said they’re anticipating 140,000 toll transactions at the three toll plazas today.

“The estimates that we’ve come up with through our tolling department over the 13-day period is 1.33 million transactions,” Miller said. “Probably the most heavily traveled day that we’ll experience is Friday” before Christmas.

To put it in perspective, Miller said the Turnpike on average will see 100,000 transactions in a day.

In coming up with those numbers, Miller said the West Virginia Parkways Authority reviewed multiple sets of data, including last year’s travel numbers, along with data from 2017, the last year that had the same travel days as this year for the week of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Miller doesn’t expect there to be as many travelers for Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Projections are for there to be around 50,000 transactions on each of those days.

“It’s typically not a very heavily traveled day and later in the day on Christmas Eve is about the same,” said Miller.

Miller said it’s possible that there could be more mid-week travel than usual around Christmas time due to West Virginia fans making their way down to Charlotte for the bowl game. The West Virginia Mountaineers will play the University of North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium.

Peak travel times are expected most days from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The West Virginia Parkways Authority said it will be well-prepared at all toll plazas. Miller added that flaggers will also be stationed at toll plazas to help with traffic flow.

The executive director is also encouraging drivers to get the E-Z Pass. Drivers can enroll in the single fee discount program for $26.25 annually. This allows for unlimited use of the West Virginia Turnpike. All lanes at the Turnpike’s three toll plazas accept E-Z Pass.

As always, the state Parkways Authority is asking people to drive safely and exercise patience when traveling.

“Use caution while on the West Virginia Turnpike as the road is heavily traveled by those from out of state,” Miller said.

The West Virginia Division of Highways and the West Virginia Department of Transportation reminds motorists to keep their “Heads up; phones down.”