Turnpike traffic up over Labor Day

F. BRIAN FERGUSON | Gazette Labor Day traffic on two, four, and eighteen wheels moves both east and west on the West Virginia Turnpike at the toll booths near Chelyan.

Final numbers aren’t yet available, but Labor Day holiday traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike appears to be up about 1.7 percent over the 2013 holiday weekend, Steve Maynard, director of tolls for the Parkways Authority, said Tuesday.

“The 1.7 percent is a guess. It’s definitely going to be between 1.5 percent and 2 percent,” Maynard said.

An Internet service outage has prevented Parkways officials from compiling toll figures from the Chelyan toll plaza, about 10 miles south of Charleston. Maynard said service has been out since about 6 p.m. Sunday.

Maynard said toll collections at the southernmost toll plaza at Ghent were up 2.37 percent, while the Pax/Mossy toll plaza north of Beckley was up 1.34 percent.

Lower gas prices, and West Virginia University fans traveling to and from Atlanta for Saturday’s Kick-Off Classic football game probably increased traffic, he said.

However, Maynard noted that Labor Day isn’t generally one of the Turnpike’s busier holiday weekends.

“Labor Day normally is not a crazy weekend for us,” he said.

He said Parkways kept all toll booths open Friday and Monday, but did not have to use tandem booths, which are opened during heavy traffic periods.

There were no reports of any significant backups at any toll plazas, Maynard said.

He said the small up-tick in Labor Day holiday traffic is consistent with a general increase in Turnpike traffic this year.

“It seems like we’re up about 0.65 percent for the year,” he said.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com, 304-348-1220 or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

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