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Frequently Asked Questions

District 10

 
 
You can report potholes, damaged and missing signs, or other highway and bridge maintenance concerns to 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
 

 
 

Employment

 

What is the proper procedure for being hired and the status of the employment process?

 
The following are different types of employment:
 

 
 
Non-Civil Service Employment: A current (less than 12 months old) Non-Civil Service Application Form STD-300, on file with the Governor's Office of Administration, Bureau of State Employment (BSE) indicating the type of position and geographic area of interest. When we fill entry-level positions, the BSE refers us candidates for interview and selection. Our selection must come from those candidates referred. Applications are usually available at the administrative offices of all Commonwealth Agencies.
 

 
 
Civil Service Employment: All positions covered by Civil Service require a competitive examination, some written, some oral, and some through document review and evaluation. A candidate must make application to the State Civil Service Commission on Form SCSC-1 for an active examination for a classification title for which they qualify. The commission notifies the candidates following scoring. When entry level positions are filled, we request an employment list from the Commission, schedule candidate interviews and make selections in accordance with their established rules and procedures
 

 

How do I find out about vacancies when they occur?

When vacancies occur, they are posted in PennDOT and other state agencies' offices, depending upon the distribution. Employees may also view postings by accessing the State Civil Service Commission's jobnet site at http://jobnet.scsc.state.pa.us.
 

Who can I contact for more information on employment opportunities with District 10?

Contact Connie Sprague, District 10's Human Resource Officer, at (724) 357-3207 or by e-mail.

 
 

PERSONAL PROPERTY ISSUES

Whom do I contact if I live along a state route and wish to have my driveway paved?

Contact the Highway Occupancy Permit Inspector assigned to the PennDOT maintenance office for your county of residence. In many cases, paving of a driveway is considered "maintenance only" and it would be only necessary to have the proper traffic control to do the work. It is always necessary to contact the PennDOT permit inspector first to determine if this is your situation.

 

Inspectors:

Sam Pytel (cell phone: (724) 422-1109)
Armstrong County: Ph. (724) 543-1811
Indiana County: Ph. (724) 357-2817
Wesley Palmer (cell phone: (724) 422-1110)
Butler County: Ph. (724) 284-8800
Clarion County: Ph. (814) 226-8200
Jefferson County: Ph. (814) 938-6300
Permit Supervisor: Ph. (724) 357-2898

 
 

When is a permit required and how long is the process?

 
When a driveway, local road or drainage facility or structure is constructed or altered within State highway right-of-way and may alter or need to be connected to a PennDOT drainage facility, a permit is required. It may take 30-90 days for a permit to be issued.
 
 
 

My township or borough has notified me of necessary sidewalk and/or curb replacement, however, I live along a State Route.

 
Contact the Highway Occupancy Permit Inspector in the PennDOT maintenance office in your county to initiate the proper procedure for installing sidewalks and curbs in accordance with state regulations.
 
 
 

What is the status of this permit application?

 
Contact the Highway Occupancy Permit Inspector in the appropriate PennDOT county maintenance office. Verify that the item in question is a Highway Occupancy Permit Application. Provide the application number, County, State Route number, and your name. PennDOT has a 60-day period in which to review each application. If the HOP Application and proposed design follow the regulations and requirements, then the review generally takes less time. Sometimes an application will need to be reviewed by additional units depending upon the location and nature of work, (i.e. within a planned construction area, delicate or specialized work).
 
 
 

Why does PennDOT not replace curbs and sidewalks?

 
By Pennsylvania State law, the local municipality or property owner is responsible for the maintenance or installation of curbing and sidewalk.
 
 
 

My driveway has potholes. When can you fix them?

PennDOT cannot fix potholes on private driveways, even if the driveways intersect with a state route. PA Title 67, Chapter 441, defines maintenance and repair responsibilities for driveway owners with respect to pavement conditions. Property owners are responsible for fixing the potholes. For more detailed information, PennDOT's highway occupancy permit regulation manuals can be obtained from the local District office.
 
 
 

How do I get traffic line paint off of my car?

 
As soon as possible after getting paint from road stripes on vehicle wash the vehicle at a pressure car wash. This will loosen and remove most of the paint unless it has dried for more than a day.
 

 
 
If the car wash does not remove the paint, allow the water to dry off the vehicle. Spray the paint residue with WD-40 and allow the WD-40 to stay on the area for 1-2 hours and rewash the vehicle. The WD-40 will soften the traffic paint without hurting the vehicle finish. If there is a heavy concentration, repeat the procedure.
 

 
 
For heavy accumulations or paint that has dried for several days, apply a liberal coating of petroleum jelly to the dried traffic paint and allow to stay on overnight. Take vehicle to a pressure car wash and wash. This should remove most of the traffic paint. Repeat the procedure if needed.
 

 
 
*DO NOT SCRUB THE FINISH WITH A SOLVENT OR SCOURING CLEANSER!!!! THIS WILL DAMAGE THE FINISH.
 

 
 
After cleaning the paint away apply a good car wax to the vehicle’s finish. Wax should remove any lasting signs of the traffic paint.
 

 
 
Wheel wells are very difficult to remove the paint from since they are normally a flat finish. Apply a liberal coating of petroleum jelly to the area and leave for several days and then pressure wash. Applying an alcohol such as Solox or Rubbing Alcohol to the area in the wheel well will help to soften any residue left after the petroleum jelly.
 

 
 
Again DO NOT SCRUB! Just apply with a very wet rag or sponge.
 
 
 

What do I do if my vehicle was damaged by roadwork?

 
If your vehicle or property has been damaged by work being performed by PennDOT, contact your county PennDOT office for a claim form. If the damage occurred in a construction work zone of a private contractor for PennDOT, the Construction Unit in PennDOT's District Office should be contacted. The private contractor's insurance company will be notified of the damage.
 
 
 

How do I get a handicapped parking space in front of my home?

 
Contact your local municipality that has the full authority to study, erect, and maintain these specially designated spaces.
 
 
 

Where my yard meets the road's right-of-way, there are signs. What are their purpose and can they be moved?

 
Signs are installed by local municipalities and PennDOT along right-of-ways to guide, warn, and regulate the motoring public. In some cases, local municipalities and PennDOT may consider relocating signs if they are not installed according to regulations.
 
 
 

Who is responsible for drainage?

 
Pennsylvania highway and bridge laws are very complicated and extensive with various interpretations based on case law. Every drainage situation must be field-viewed and researched to determine time frame, types of easement, and types of water involved (flowing stream or storm water) before any determination of responsibility can be made. 
 

 
 
Generally, PennDOT's roads and bridges serve as a flow area for the transmittal of water across its right-of-way and can discharge water onto private property through highway cross-pipes. When damage may result from upstream land use changes and other circumstances as well as downstream responsibility, it is more difficult to determine responsibility until the research is completed.
 
 
 

Will PennDOT put a pipe through my property rather than a ditch?

 
PennDOT does not normally put a pipe rather than a ditch through a private property. The exception would be if PennDOT determines that the infrastructure would need protection by installing an enclosed system of pipes. Enhancement of private property or providing for its development is not legitimate purposes for underground pipe. According to Title 67, Chapter 441, the property owner would be responsible for such improvements in property drainage. PennDOT's highway occupancy permit regulation manuals, that outline the responsibilities, can be obtained from the local District office.
 
 
 

Will PennDOT cut slopes or vegetation to improve sight distance at my driveway?

 
No, PennDOT will not cut slopes or vegetation to improve sight distance according to PA Title 67, Chapter 441, because sight distance improvement is the responsibility of the driveway owner. Please refer to PennDOT's highway occupancy permit regulation manuals, which can be obtained from the local District office, for further details.
 
 
 

PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING

 

How does PennDOT prioritize its major projects?

 
Act 120 of 1970, as amended, requires PennDOT to prepare and submit to the State Transportation Commission every two years a program of transportation improvements that it recommends to be undertaken during the next twelve years. Further the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century of 1998 requires the development of long range plans and transportation improvement programs by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Voluntarily, Pennsylvania has established a rural transportation planning program and works with the existing Local Development Districts. These urban and ruralorganizations help to prioritize the projects that comprise the Twelve Year Program.
 
 
 

What is the Twelve Year Program?

 
With the policy direction of the State Transportation Commission, the Twelve Year Program is developed to address the transportation concerns of the Commonwealth. Input is solicited from the public and interested parties through regional hearings. The program is biennially adopted by the Commission as the outline for improving the Commonwealth's transportation system. Subsequently, the Commission submits the program to the Governor, General Assembly, and Transportation Secretary for approval. The first four year segment of the Twelve Year Program becomes the federally mandated Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which includes the programs developed and proposed by the county and regional planning organizations at the various regional hearings.
 
 
 

How do I get copies of the Twelve Year Program?

 
Contact: Secretary to the State Transportation Commission – (717) 787-2913
 
No Cost - Municipalities
 
Cost per page for Private concerns
 
 
 

Whom do I contact to get a presenter for our meetings (i.e. Lions Club)

 
Contact the Community Relations Coordinator at 724-357-2829 to discuss possible speakers for your organization's meeting.
 

 
 

Right-of-Way

What is Right-of-Way and how do I know how wide it is?

Right-of-Way is the term used to describe "right of passage" over another's land. When the Commonwealth acquires land for Highway Right-of-Way purposes, it is actually obtaining "right of passage" over land on which a public road ultimately will be built. It is a Constitutional right of the Commonwealth to acquire land for public purposes. The term used to describe this right is "Eminent Domain". Eminent Domain states that it is the inherent right of the State to acquire land when it is needed for public use. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will execute this right only when it will benefit the public. Right-of-Way includes the easement or land purchased by PennDOT on which a highway is built, as well as shoulder or berm, plus any additional area needed for highway purposes. While it is often 33 feet wide, it may be much wider (120 feet or more in some cases), since it extends beyond the paved road and shoulders. Contact the PennDOT District office at RA-PDD10ROWREQUESTS@pa.gov to find out what the Right-of-Way is for a specific location.
 

What is an encroachment?

An encroachment is any object placed without permission within the legal limits of a highway Right-of-Way. Some examples include signs, fences, walls, and lights. Objects generally are not permitted in the Right-of-Way unless the objects serve an official highway purpose (utility poles and properly placed mailboxes are exceptions).
 

What is PennDOT's responsibility in regard to Right-of-Way encroachments?

PennDOT provides the owner of an encroachment with a written request to remove it. If the encroachment is not removed, PennDOT is authorized to remove it and to collect removal costs from the owner. Also, the state highway law provides a penalty for encroachment violations, upon a summary conviction.
 

How is highway location determined?

It is PennDOT's goal to establish the most direct and useable highway facility at the least possible cost to the public. To accomplish this, PennDOT undertakes intensive studies on several possible routes in order to find the route that will result in the least possible inconvenience or injury to the public and the private landowner. Statistical data concerning the economy, population needs and traffic volume trends are analyzed for the area under study. Aerial and ground surveys are taken, and consideration is also given to such factors as safety, drainage and soil types. In addition, public meetings are held to discuss the proposed alternate locations.
 

How will my rights be protected during the property acquisition?

According to Amendment Article V of the Constitution, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use without Just Compensation. In this situation, it is your right to receive Just Compensation in exchange for your property. A Fair Market Value will be determined for your property, and you will receive this along with several other benefits as Just Compensation Pennsylvania's Eminent Domain Legislation is considered the most liberal of its kind in the U.S. Your rights as a property owner are given primary consideration.
 

If my property is to be acquired by the Commonwealth, who will contact me?

You will be contacted several times throughout the acquisition process, and your cooperation is necessary to aid the success of the process. Your first contact will usually be a letter informing you that your property will be affected by a highway project. You may also be personally visited by various Right-of-Way representatives. All appointments will be made at your convenience, within reason, of course. It is our desire to make this process run as smoothly as possible.
 

Who determines property value?

The value of your property will be determined by a qualified, licensed, real estate appraiser. This may be a PennDOT staff appraiser and/or an independent, licensed, real estate appraiser. Local real estate trends and the value of comparable properties will be taken into consideration when determining the Fair Market Value of your property. All appraisals are reviewed by qualified Reviewing Appraisers to assure that you will receive just compensation for your property. For your personal satisfaction, you may obtain an independent appraisal, for which you will be reimbursed. PennDOT will reimburse you up to $4,000.00 for any reasonable expense incurred for an appraiser, engineer, or attorney to evaluate your claim.
 

What will I be paid for my property?

Local real estate trends and the value of comparable properties will be taken into consideration when determining the Market Value of your property which you will be offered. PennDOT cannot, by law or by our policy, offer you less than Market Value for your property.

 
In addition to the Market Value for your property, you are also entitled to the following benefits:

 
1. All fees incidental to the transfer of your property to the Department.
2. Any mortgage prepayment penalty you would be required to pay as a result of the acquisition.
3. Reimbursement for up to a total of $4,000 for reasonable expenses you paid for an appraiser, engineer, or attorney to evaluate PennDOT’s offer. 
4. In addition, if PennDOT acquires a residence or business that you occupy, you will be entitled to Relocation Benefits. These benefits are explained in Bulletin #47.

 

When will I receive the offer?

A Right-of-Way Representative will personally present you with a written offer for your property. PennDOT operates under a written one-offer policy in order to achieve uniformity throughout the project. Each owner is treated on the same basis, and each claim is settled on its merits rather than the negotiating ability of the parties. You will be offered the amount determined by the appraisal process. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cannot, by law or by our policy, offer you less than Estimated Just Compensation for your property.

 
If you do not believe that the appraisal offers "Just Compensation", and if you can provide factual information pertaining to the value or damage of your property, which was not available to the appraisers, PennDOT officials will gladly review the appraisal.
 

Must I accept PennDOT's offer?

The vast majority of property acquisitions are settled on an amicable basis. Keep in mind, a careful procedure is used to arrive at a Fair Market Value for your property, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cannot, by law or by our policy, offer you less than Just Compensation for your property.

 
If, however, an agreement cannot be reached through negotiations, PennDOT in order to proceed with the project, will be forced to file a "condemnation Proceeding" (Declaration of Taking) in the Court of Common Pleas. At the point of condemnation, you will be offered the full amount of the appraised Fair Market Value as Estimated Just Compensation. You may elect to accept the Estimated Just Compensation without jeopardizing your right to contest the amount in court, or you can refuse the payment and it will deposited in your name with the Prothonotary of the county in which the property is located.

 
Once a Declaration of Taking has been filed, either you or PennDOT may petition, within six years, for a Board of Viewers, or the amount paid will be considered payment in full, in accordance with the Statute of Limitations. At a Board of View, the Viewers will consider your testimony, as well as those of the Department of Transportation. An award will be made by the Board of Viewers based on the available information. If either party is still dissatisfied, an appeal may be made to the Court of Common Pleas. Under most circumstances, however, this procedure is not necessary.
 

When will I be paid for my property?

For your convenience payments will be processed as quickly as possible. Before you receive payment, however, you are responsible for providing the Commonwealth with a clear and marketable title. Any liens, mortgages, judgements, taxes or other obligations with regard to your property must be satisfied either prior to or at the time of settlement with the Department.

 
Once an agreement has been reached, payment can be expected within 4 to 6 weeks. No property owner will be required to move until he or she has received payment of Just Compensation or until it has been made available to him. PennDOT will forward the payments as quickly as possible to aid you with your relocation process.
 

How can I get more information about Right-of-Way encroachments and control of outdoor advertising signs?

Contact PennDOT District 10-0 Engineering Office (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson Counties) (724) 357 - 2838
 
 
Outdoor Advertising Control
 

Why does PennDOT control outdoor advertising signs?

 
PennDOT is required by law to control outdoor advertising signs adjacent to interstate and federal-aid primary highways in order to receive its full share of federal highway funds, which are necessary to build and maintain Pennsylvania's roadways. By ensuring the orderly and effective display of outdoor advertising, we remain consistent with national policy to protect the public's investment in our highways. We also protect Pennsylvania's natural beauty.
 
 
 

Where can I place my sign?

 
Generally along federal-aid primary highways and interstates, signs may only be erected in commercial or industrial areas subject to the limitations concerning size, spacing between signs, and lighting. Locations are more restrictive next to interstate highways. Along state routes without federal funding, a sign may not encroach the right-of-way without a permit. Contact your local PennDOT District office for details.
 
 
 

Can my sign be placed in the highway's right-of-way?

 
No. Only official traffic signs can be put in the right-of-way areas. This includes signs placed on utility poles and other small temporary or portable signs.
 
 
 

Do I need a permit to erect a sign?

 
Whether you need a permit for your sign depends on whether the sign is an on-premise or off-premise sign along a federal-aid primary highway or interstate. Along state routes without federal funding, a permit is only needed if a sign will encroach on the right-of-way area.
 

 
 
On-premise signs, which advertise products or services available on the property where the sign will be located, have few restrictions. They generally do not require an application or permit; however, if such a sign will be located further than 50 feet from the building or parking lot or the property is along an interstate highway, other factors may need to be considered. You should check with PennDOT first.
 

 
 
Off-premise signs are those which advertise something not sold on the property where the sign will be located. These signs DO require permits, and must meet size, lighting, and spacing requirements. Before you erect an off-premise commercial advertising sign, an application must be submitted to a PennDOT District office and a permit obtained. An annual permit fee is also required.
 
 
 

If my sign complies with state law; must it also comply with local laws?

 
Yes. Before PennDOT will issue a sign permit, the proposed sign must also meet all applicable county and municipal requirements.
 
 
 

Who is responsible for an illegal sign?

 
The person who erects or maintains an illegal sign, as well as the individual who allows an illegal sign to exist on his or her property is responsible for the sign.
 
 
 

What is PennDOT's responsibility for an illegal sign?

 
PennDOT is obligated by law to remove illegal signs. PennDOT will first send a written request to the responsible person(s) to remove the sign. If not removed, PennDOT is authorized by law to enter private property to remove the illegal sign and to collect the cost of removal from the responsible person(s). The law also provides a $500 per day fine for the person(s) responsible for the illegal sign, upon summary conviction.
 
 
 

Can I erect a sign with flashing lights or arrows?

 
No. Such signs are prohibited because they could distract motorists and pose a safety hazard.
 
 

What are the Constraints for erecting an electronic message board?

1. The sign shall be a conforming sign located in a zoned or unzoned commercial or industrial area.
2. All messages/displays shall remain unchanged for a minimum of five (5) seconds.
3. The time interval used to change from one complete message/display to the next complete message/display shall be a maximum of one (1) second.
4. There shall be no appearance of a visual dissolve or fading, in which any part of one electronic message/display appears simultaneously with any part of a second electronic message/display.
5. There shall be no appearance of flashing or sudden bursts of light, and no appearance of animation, movement, or flow of the message/display.
6. Any illumination intensity or contrast of light level shall remain constant. 

 
 

Why can't objects be placed in the right-of-way?

 
For two reasons: public safety and legal liability. These objects may interfere with a driver's view of other traffic, official traffic signs, and traffic signals. Accidents may be a result of obstruction. If a motorist collides with an illegally placed object, the owner of the object and PennDOT may be sued for the resulting injuries and damages.
 
 
 

How do we get our town, borough, village, and etc. name on the signs on an interstate highway?

 
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has control over interstate highway signs with stringent guidelines. Contact the Engineering District Traffic Unit that will work with you in making a request to the FHWA.
 

 

Were can I get Chapter 445 OAD Control, Chapter 451 Junkyard Control, Chapter 495 Lessing of Real Property, and RW - 745 Application For Advertising Device Permit?

Click on the links Below. For additional links, click here.

 

Chapters:


 

Applications:

RW-745 Application For Advertising Device Permit

 
 

ROAD MAINTENANCE / Construction

 

Which herbicides are used by PennDOT and what are their environmental impact?

 
PennDOT uses these herbicides: Round-Up, Escort, Arsenal, Garlon-3A, Oust, Karmex, Vanquish, Krenite-S, Assure II, and Rodeo. There are few, if any, environmental problems with these herbicides. Each has caution labels, pasture labels, ditch bank labels, or aquatic labels and are used where specified. All herbicides are applied under the direction of a licensed applicator.
 
 
 

Why isn't the grass mowed more frequently?

 
PennDOT mows along the interstates and state roads at least three times a year. Mowing is done because of safety reasons. Mowing at this frequency is the most cost effective cycle to control vegetation.
 
 
 

If there is a dead animal on a road, who takes care of removing it?

 
Large animals, such as deer, bear, and elk, are the responsibility of the Game Commission. If these or any other dead animals are found on a state road or bridge, the local PennDOT county office should be contacted and arrangements will be made for their removal.
 
 
 

Why do contractors work while people are coming from or going to work, especially in the summer?

 
Every project is prepared with a Maintenance and Protection of Traffic Plan (MPT) signed by the District Traffic Engineer and the Assistant District Engineer for Construction. The MPT gives direction to the contractor about when he can work on the roadway, take out lanes of traffic, detour traffic, etc. This direction is based on our best analysis of traffic flow and is sensitive to peak traffic volumes. Our primary construction season is from April through October. We try to complete projects during this timeframe and not during peak travelling times but sometimes an extenuating circumstance intervenes.
 
 
 

Why do road projects take so long sometimes?

 
Some projects appear to take long because of the type of work being completed. Some direct factors are material availability, utility work, sub-contractor work, and type of structure involved. Indirect factors may be traffic volume, contractor staffing, and contractor equipment.
 
 
 

TRAFFIC ISSUES

 

Who is responsible for speed limits?

 
Local municipalities and PennDOT are responsible for setting speed limits.
 
 
 

How do I get the speed limit changed?

 
Contact your local municipality. The municipality will then request an engineering and traffic study to be done by PennDOT.
 
 
 

Why is the speed limit higher going out of town than coming in?

 
Pennsylvania Law requires a speed limit of 35 M.P.H. when, "The territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry, or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet or distance of a quarter of a mile or more." Therefore, when you are entering a town, you must by law, decrease your speed to 35 M.P.H. When you are leaving the town, the speed limit usually increases because the area is not as condensed. The township posts the speed limit, which is usually higher than a borough.
 
 
 

Why were traffic lines painted this way?

 
Traffic lines are traffic control devices that are designed according to the safety need(s) of the route(s).
 
 
 

What's the volume of traffic (A.D.T.) on that road?

 
Call the Traffic Unit with the State Route number and specified segment (i.e. SR4003 SEG 10). State Route numbers can be found on the rectangular white signs with black letters posted along the state routes.
 
 
 

How can I get a student-walking route declared hazardous?

 
Only school districts can request a study of a student-walking route. Contact the District Traffic Unit for information and the school district can request a study.
 

 
 

I would like a "School Bus Stop Ahead", "No Parking", "Lower Speed Limit", etc. sign erected. How does this get done?

 
Depending on the area in which you request the sign to be erected, contact your school district about a "School Bus Stop Ahead" sign or the local municipality for all other types of signs. School districts and local municipalities are responsible for the erection and maintenance of their signs. PennDOT conducts the study of whether a sign is needed.
 
 
 

How does someone request a traffic signal?

 
Contact your local municipality. The municipalities purchase, erect, and maintain the signal.
 
 
 

Who is responsible for the traffic signal maintenance?

 
The local municipalities are responsible. PennDOT designs and issues permits for the local municipality.
 
 
 

How do I get the timing of a traffic signal changed?

 
Contact the local municipality in which the traffic signal is located. The local municipality will then contact PennDOT to officially request a timing change to the existing signal permit.
 
 
 

Why is PennDOT involved with traffic signals on a municipal highway?

 
Permits are issued by PennDOT to erect traffic signals in order to insure uniformity of signal design and operation.
 
 

WINTER SERVICES

 

How does PennDOT prepare for a major snowstorm?

 
The Department of Transportation currently uses a number of devices to track storms, including weather radar, pavement sensors, and forecasting services. These elements enable PennDOT to quickly mobilize our employees and equipment and get a head start on approaching winter storms.
 
 
 

I live on a back road. Why does it take so long for PennDOT to service my road?

 
PennDOT services roads on a priority basis according to traffic volume. State roads with the highest amount of traffic, such as interstates and four-lanes, receive service first, followed by secondary roads. During a winter storm, PennDOT employees work around-the-clock so that all types of roads receive adequate service in priority order.
 
 
 

What does PennDOT put on slippery roads in the winter?

 
Salt, anti-skid, or a combination of these are applied to roadways during snow and ice removal operations. Anti-skid is a natural or man-made aggregate material such as sand, fine stone or manufacturing by-product. Salt helps to melt the snow or ice and the anti-skid provides for traction. The amount of material on the roadway depends on type of road, type and duration of storm, and temperature. Additional pre-treating and anti-icing materials including magnesium chloride and liquid calcium chloride are currently being evaluated.
 
 
 

How does PennDOT service all the state roads throughout a county effectively?

 
"Stockpiles" are located throughout each county, which contain anti-skid material. Several trucks are assigned to each stockpile to service the roads in that area of the county. PennDOT also receives assistance from local municipalities and contract sales on servicing some roads.
 
 
 

During a snowstorm, why is only one lane plowed on a multi-lane highway?

 
Often, only one lane is plowed because the driving lane has the highest priority during the storm. Whenever possible, "tandem plowing" (two trucks plowing side by side) takes place.
 
 
 

Why does a truck move so slowly while plowing snow and spreading anti-skid?

 
The driver must adjust his or her vehicle speed according to various conditions such as heavy or wet snow, ice, or residential areas. If traveling too fast, anti-skid will not stay on the road. Before you decide to pass a truck, however, ask yourself, "Is this pass really necessary?" Passing a snowplow can be extremely dangerous. There is never a "safe" time to pass, but if you must, do it with extreme caution.
 
 
 

What is a safe distance to follow behind a truck plowing snow?

 
The normal safe following distance between two vehicles (2-second rule) should be doubled during inclement weather. When following a truck, your headlights should be on low beam. Remember every truck has blind spots. This is an area to the side and rear not visible by the driver of the vehicle; it is greater for trucks. In addition, following too closely increases your chances of loose material flying up and damaging your vehicle.
 
 
 

Why do bridges freeze before road surfaces?

 
Because the air below the bridges tends to cool the bridge faster than the normal road surface. Also, be cautious of shaded areas that don't receive sunlight and drifted areas along the road.
 
 
 

What is "black ice"?

 
Black ice is a thin layer of transparent ice not always visible on the roadway but very slippery.
 
 
 

What does it mean to "pump your brakes"?

 
Avoid slamming on your brakes on slippery roads. Hard braking can lock you wheels and cause loss of steering. Apply brakes gently and ease off when you start to skid. Turn wheel in direction of the skid.
 
If you have anti-lock brakes, pumping is not recommended. Refer to your car manual about how anti-lock brakes differ from standard brakes.
 

 
 
Most important, drive smart! Think ahead! Drive at a reduced speed!
 
 
 

Why doesn't PennDOT replace mailboxes that it knocks down?

 
In all cases, we try to avoid damaging anyone's property. However, mailboxes are often placed in the state's legal right-of-way, which means that the Department of Transportation is not liable for damages to mailboxes caused by snow removal operations. We suggest property owners ensure their mailbox rests on a firm support so it will be better able to withstand the "windrow" of snow from the plow.
 
 
If the mailbox that is knocked down was located clearly beyond the legal right-of-way, PennDOT county offices can supply the Department of General Services claim form to attempt to receive reimbursement.

 
The property owner may install a cantilever mailbox post to diminish the damage caused by winter road maintenance.  Plans for a cantilever post are available by clicking here.

 
 

How can I prepare my vehicle for winter travel?

 
Clean snow and ice from your windows and mirrors before traveling. Make sure all lights are working, and always use your headlights during a storm. Keep wiper blades in good condition, and keep all fluid levels full. Check tires for tread and proper inflation, and add weight to rear-wheel drive vehicles. Carry emergency equipment in your car such as flares, a shovel, chains, flashlight, jumper cables, sand, a hat, boots and gloves.
 
 
 

Are there any "rules" for winter driving?

 
Remember this: Drive cautiously. Avoid making any sudden moves or fast turns. Avoid quick acceleration or hard braking. Slow and easy is the rule. And for good reason--your safety.
 
 
 

Why does PennDOT plow snow on my sidewalks?

 
By legislation, PennDOT is required to maintain the traveled cartway, defined as traveled lanes, as its first priority. When limited storage space or shoulder areas allow no alternative, the decision must be made to either plow the highway at the risk of the sidewalk or to do nothing. Based on case law in Commonwealth Court, PennDOT may inconvenience the property owner by plowing snow on the sidewalk rather than allowing snow accumulation to become a hazard on the highway. In consideration of our customers, we always recommend that where minimal storage space for plowed snow is an issue, our operators should exercise caution and minimize the impact on sidewalks whenever possible.
 
 
 

Why do you have to plow my driveway shut?

 
Frequently, it appears that PennDOT plows driveways shut after the property owners have already plowed their driveways. These complaints occur on our rural systems due to the fact that our highways are plowed in a priority order, beginning with the highest traffic volume routes and working toward the lower, or rural, traffic routes. Consequently, the rural driveway owners have completed the removal of snow on their driveways prior to our plowing operations. Further complicating this issue is our method of plowing cartways (traveled width) first, then following up with a cleanup and widening operation. This frequently results in the driveway owner immediately plowing his or her driveway after our truck makes its first pass, only to discover that our cleanup and widening pass deposits additional snow.
 

 
 
Several ways that the impact of the plowing operation can be minimized are to remove snow only to approximately 10 feet from the end of your driveway until the all passes are made by the snowplows. Another method is to clean an area in addition to your driveway on the right side of your driveway facing it from the roadway. This allows a plow blade full of snow to be deposited before it reaches your driveway.
 
 
 

What are the dates when it is permissible to have on studded snow tires?

 
Studded snow tires are permissible from November 1 until April 15.
 
 
 

In inclement weather, people call asking what the road conditions are. Who can they call?

 
For current Interstate road conditions throughout Pennsylvania, people can call 1-888-783-6783. For those with Internet access, statewide road conditions are available.
 
 
 

Will PennDOT pay for any paint chips, cracks, windshields, or other damage to my car caused by their spreading of anti-skid?

 
Generally, PennDOT is not held responsible for damage caused by the application of abrasives for winter services unless vehicles are struck directly from material leaving our spreaders and the claimant can demonstrate gross negligence on the part of our equipment operator. The Department of General Services claim form is available at PennDOT county offices for the claimants to exercise their right to attempt reimbursement.
 
 
 

Will PennDOT repair grass (turf) damage after heavy snow removal activities and clean debris out of my yard?

 
Typically, this damage occurs during very heavy snowfalls requiring the use of loaders and large snow blowers, which do not perform in the same manner as our truck-mounted snowplows. However, the damage is generally confined to the legal right-of-way. While it is unsightly, the frequency and severity is proportional to the snow depths. PennDOT does not repair these turf damages or remove deposited debris within the right-of-way limits on a routine basis. If property owners insist on reimbursement for conditions that occur beyond the legal right-of-way, we supply the standard Department of General Services claim form, which is available through the PennDOT county offices.