Turnpike Call Boxes Disappearing

Credit: PA Internet News Service

A vestige of a bygone era will be disappearing from along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission plans to begin taking down approximately 1,000 emergency call boxes that line the toll highway.

With the rise of mobile devices, safety patrols and traffic monitoring systems, the need for emergency call boxes for the 552 miles of Turnpike in the Keystone State has dwindled, officials from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said.

“Our review and analysis shows that use of those boxes has declined to the point that each box may only be used once a year, while maintenance of the call boxes costs $250,000 a year,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey said. “More importantly, it is much safer for motorists to stay in their car and report any incidents from their own phone.”

The boxes have been used for years to summon help along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The relics of a time before nearly everyone had a mobile device do not actually handle voice calls, but rather offer “service,” “police,” “medical” and “accident” buttons that feed to a central dispatching center in Harrisburg.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001