HARRISBURG – For the second time in less than a week, PennDOT crews are preparing to deal with another massive snowstorm that will impact much of Pennsylvania.
Motorists are urged to avoid unnecessary travel after the storm hits on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10, and those who must travel should expect delays.
“I want to applaud those motorists who heeded our warnings last week and stayed off the roads over the weekend,” said PennDOT’s Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration, Scott Christie, P.E. “However, this storm will occur during the week when many motorists will have no choice but to travel, so we’re asking them to allow extra time to reach their destinations and be sure that their vehicle emergency kits are packed.”
PennDOT warns motorists that although snow accumulations are not expected to approach the amounts seen this past weekend, high winds are expected to accompany the latest storm, creating the potential for near-zero-visibility and major drifting.
“The reality is that motorists who must travel Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday will face conditions possibly worse than those seen over the weekend due to the strong, gusty winds currently forecast,” Christie said.
PennDOT advises motorists who do encounter white-out conditions to make every attempt to come to a complete stop, but only after safely getting as far off the road as possible or preferably when there is a safe area to do so. Also, do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could create a chain-reaction collision.
PennDOT is making repairs to any equipment damaged during this past weekend’s storm and will have its entire fleet operational for this new winter event. Minor damages such as broken wipers and burned out lights are common when removing heavy amounts of snow. Overall, the department has approximately 2,200 plow trucks available.
According to Christie, interstates and other high-volume expressways are treated first during winter storms. Secondary state routes are a lower priority and during severe winter storms, deeper accumulations will occur on these roadways.
The department’s primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until after precipitation stops and roads are clear. The department has more than 600,000 tons of salt in stock around the state.
Through the end of January, PennDOT has spent $131.9 million out of its projected winter budget of $245 million to plow and maintain the 96,000 snow lane miles for which the department is responsible.
PennDOT asks motorists to allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter
Because weather and road conditions can deteriorate quickly, motorists should always check the weather forecast before traveling. Road conditions for
interstates and some limited-access highways are available by visiting 511pa.com before you leave home, or by calling 511 while stopped in a safe location.
For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit here.
PennDOT also reminds citizen that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA. Citizens can find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the Web site or the toll-free line.