The winter season is rapidly approaching, and as such motorists should take the precautions necessary to ensure their safety.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE | In advance of the winter season, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has outlined a procedure for winter services, job opportunities, and public preparation for winter conditions.
“Our professional crews have worked hard to prepare for the upcoming winter season, and they are ready,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Chief Operating Officer, Craig Shuey. “We ask that all travelers on the Turnpike this winter do their part to be weather-ready for winter travel. Keeping your vehicle stocked for winter with whatever you might need for your health, safety and comfort should traffic come to a stop for an extended period of time can make a big difference in cold weather. We also ask that you consider how to react to extreme white-out conditions that can occur without notice. Be prepared to slow down, don’t panic stop, activate your hazard lights and extend your following distance to prevent dangerous multivehicle crashes.”
Using the website www.511PA.com, motorists can find pertinent travel information such as plow truck locations and when a road was last plowed. PennDOT offers resources and information on their winter services for each of the 11 engineering districts on their winter webpage.
To help the public prepare for the season and share information about winter services, PennDOT offers operational information and traveler resources on its winter web page. The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts. This information is provided to the public to ensure that citizens are prepared for winter road conditions.
To ensure that the turnpike system is as clear of snow and ice as possible, the PTC takes measures to ensure that its fleet of vehicles is ready and that they have staff ready 24/7 for any possible weather condition. Although the PTC takes every measure possible to keep the roads clear, motorists are encouraged to ensure their vehicles and themselves are ready for winter conditions.
“Safety is our top priority, and motorists are our partners in making this season a safe one,” said acting PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration, Mike Keiser. “We also have temporary and longer-term employment opportunities and welcome people to join the team in the many types of positions available.”
Keiser also spoke on the signage of a pilot project that will place variable speed limit signs (VSLs) that reduce speed limits during suboptimal visibility or road conditions at the following locations:
• 21 locations along I-80 in Clearfield (mile marker (MM) 100-133) and Clinton (MM 182- 193) counties.
• Six locations on I-80 in Clarion and Jefferson counties on the approaches to Emlenton Bridge (MM 42-45), North Fork Bridge (MM 78-81), and Kyle Lake Bridge (MM 92-95).
• 36 locations along I-81 from I-78 to I-80 in Lebanon (five locations), Luzerne (seven locations), and Schuylkill (24 locations) counties.
While the VSLs are in use, the permanent speed limits will be covered until the end of April. When the speed limit on the VSL is reduced, lights will flash on the top and bottom of the VSL to make it clear to motorists that the speed limit has changed.
PennDOT can mobilize 4,700 road workers and store 636,000 tons of salt thanks to its $212 million budget. PennDOT is hiring 700 temporary equipment operators throughout the commonwealth to supplement its active workforce. Requirements for the position and application information is available at www.employment.pa.gov. Through this website, an additional 100 non-operator seasonal positions are available. (See Jobs Here).
Motorists are reminded to slow down and increase their following distance if they begin to face snow or ice-covered roads. Motorists should keep supplies in their vehicles such as water, blankets, cell phone chargers, medications, and other essential items to be prepared for the possible event of being unable to proceed on a roadway.