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Frequently Asked Questions

DISTRICT 4    

What is meant by "District 4?"

A District is a region of the state. PennDOT has divided the state into 11 Districts. Each has a District Executive who is in charge of all roads and bridges in their part of the state. District 4-0 covers 6 counties of Northeastern PA: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.
 
How Do I Sign Up For District 4 Travel Updates?
Anyone wishing to sign up for trafic updates can do so by emailing James May at  jamay@pa.gov

CONSTRUCTION
WHY CAN'T HIGHWAY CONTRACTORS WORK ON BUSY ROADS DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS WHEN TRAFFIC IS LIGHTEST?

In some cases, our contractors do work on highways during the overnight hours. Some are required to work during these hours, especially on expressway projects and other high speed, high volume highways. And many have the option to work any schedule they choose. However, working at night on our busy highways is more dangerous for both the workers and drivers. Plus, working at night is more expensive, as the work area is required to be illuminated for reasons of safety and quality control. Given the current budget challenges, we need to be responsible stewards of our funds and get the most for every transportation dollar.
  
SOMETIMES IN A CONSTRUCTION ZONE, LANES ARE CLOSED, BUT NO ONE APPEARS TO BE WORKING. WHY IS THIS?
 
In cases where the lane restrictions are long term, lanes are closed at the start of the project and remain so until its completion. On some large projects, these work zones are extensive, and crews are moving around within the work area or simply working out of view of motorists. On high speed highways, the work area includes a lengthy transition or a buffer zone to protect the highway workers. Since the cost to set up and maintain these long term work areas is extremely expensive, it is often far more cost effective to close off the entire project area and complete the project. Many times, restrictions are maintained while cement from repairs dries. Much of the material we use is weather and temperature dependent. 
  
WHY DO ROAD PROJECTS TAKE SO LONG TO COMPLETE?

Some projects appear to take long because of the type of work being completed. Many construction projects are phased to prevent complete closure of the roadway to traffic or establishing a detour, whenever possible. Some other direct factors are material availability, utility relocation work required, sub-contractor work requirements and complexity of the structural work involved. Indirect factors are traffic volume, right-of-way, contractors staffing and contractor equipment requirements.
 
DAMAGE TO VEHICLES 

HOW DO I GET TRAFFIC LINE PAINT OFF MY VEHICLE?

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.
  
WILL PENNDOT PAY FOR ANY PAINT CHIPS, CRACKED WINDSHIELDS OR OTHER DAMAGE TO MY CAR CAUSED BY THEIR SPREADING OF WINTER MATERIALS?

Generally, PennDOT is not liable for damage caused by the application of abrasives for winter services. If a claimant wishes to exercise their right to attempt to gain reimbursement, the Department of General Services claim form is available at PennDOT county offices.
  
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 local PennDOT county office for a Department of General Services claim form. If the damage occurred in a construction work zone of a private contractor for PennDOT, the District Construction Unit should be contacted. The private contractor’s insurance company will be notified of the damage. 
DEAD ANIMALS
IF THERE IS A DEAD ANIMAL ON THE ROAD, WHO DO I CALL TO HAVE IT REMOVED?

Private contractors remove deer along state roads. The Pennsylvania Game Commission removes large game animals from limited access highways. Contact your PennDOT county office or the local Game Commission.
    
DRAINAGE

I LIVE ON A STATE HIGHWAY AND THE STORMWATER PIPE UNDER MY DRIVEWAY IS CLOGGED. WILL PENNDOT CLEAR MY PIPE?
PennDOT cannot maintain pipes on private driveways or in the entrance to a private driveway, even if the driveway intersects with a state road. PA Title 67, Chapter 441, defines maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities for driveway owners with respect to drainage and pavement conditions. Property owners are responsible for the cleaning of the driveway pipe. For more detailed information, PennDOT’s highway occupancy permit regulation manual can be obtained from your local county office.
  
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR STORM DRAINAGE?

Pennsylvania highway and bridge laws are complicated and extensive with various interpretations based on case law. 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. In most cases, PennDOT is responsible to maintain bridges, cross pipes and open drainage ditches within the legal right-of-way of a state road. PennDOT can maintain fifty feet up and down a stream that crosses a state road. When damage results from upstream land use changes and other circumstances, as well as downstream responsibilities, it is more difficult to determine responsibility until a field review and research is accomplished.
  
WILL PENNDOT PUT A PIPE THROUGH MY PROPERTY TO CLOSE IN AN OPEN DRAINAGE DITCH?

No, according to Title 67, Chapter 441, the property owner would be responsible for such improvements in property drainage. PennDOT’s highway occupancy permit regulation manual, that outlines the responsibilities, can be obtained from your local PennDOT county office.
 
DRIVEWAY AND HAULING PERMITS 

HOW CAN I GET MORE INFO ON A DRIVEWAY PERMIT OR A HAULING PERMIT?
Send an email to our District 4 Permit Unit. The address is penndotdistrict4permits@pa.gov
  
HANDICAPPED PARKING

HOW DO I GET A HANDICAPPED PARKING SPACE IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE?

Contact your local municipality that has the full authority to study, erect and maintain these specially designated spaces.
PA TURNPIKE
I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE.
The Turnpike is a separate entity from PennDOT. If you have questions, comments or issues about the Turnpike or any of its interchanges, please contact them at 1-800-331-3414 or by visiting www.paturnpike.com.
 
REST AREAS, WELCOME CENTERS & PARK AND RIDES

WHERE CAN I FIND A REST AREA OR WELCOME CENTER ON THE INTERSTATES OF NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA? HOW ABOUT PARK & RIDES?

Here is a list of Rest Areas:
INTERSTATE 80:
Interstate 80 Eastbound, at White Haven, Luzerne County between the Mountain Top/ Hazleton Exit 262 (old 39) and the White Haven/ Freeland Exit 273 (old 40).
INTERSTATE 81:
Interstate 81 Northbound at Dorrance, Luzerne County between the Dorrance Exit 155 (old 42) and the Nuangola Exit 159 (old 43) PHONE: 570-868-3577
Interstate 81 Southbound at Nuangola, Luzerne County between the Nuangola Exit 159 (old 43) and the Dorrance Exit 155 (old 42) PHONE: 570-868-6944
Interstate 81 Northbound at Tompkinsville, Lackawanna County between the Fleetville/ Tompkinsville Exit 202 (old 62) and the Glenwood/ Lenoxville Exit 206 (old 63) PHONE: 570-222-0104
Interstate 81 Southbound at Lenox, Susquehanna County between the Lenox Exit 211 (old 64) and the Glenwood/ Lenoxville Exit 206 (old 63). Rest Area. PHONE: 570-222-4104
Interstate 81 Southbound at mile marker 231, just south of the Pennsylvania/N.Y. border: Welcome Center at Endless Mountains, Great Bend, PA. PHONE: 570-878-2283
INTERSTATE 84:
Interstate 84 Eastbound at Promised Lake, Pike County between the Greentown/Lake Wallenpaupack Exit 20 (old 6) and the Tafton/ Promised Land State Park Exit 26 (old 7)
Interstate 84 Westbound at Promised Land, Pike County between the Tafton/Promised Land State Park Exit 26 (old 7) and the Greentown/ Lake Wallenpaupack Exit 20 (old 6)
Interstate 84 at Matamoras, Pike County off the Matamoras Exit 53 (old 11), Rest Area and Welcome Center. PHONE: 570-491-4703.
PARK AND RIDE LOT LOCATIONS IN NORTHEASTERN PA:
Interstate 81 Dupont/Pittston (NORTHBOUND) Exit 175; (SOUTHBOUND) Exit 175A. Lot is on PA Route 315
Interstate 81 Mountain Top/ Wilkes Barre (NORTHBOUND) Exit 165A; (SOUTHBOUND) Exit 165. Lot is on PA Route 309
Interstate 81 Nanticoke Exit 164, then follow PA Route 29 to Exit 1
Interstate 84, Mt. Cobb/Hamlin Exit 8, Intersection of PA Routes 247 & 348.
US Route 6 (Casey Highway) Meredith Street Exit 6
US Route 6 (Casey Highway) Jessup/Mt. Cobb Exit 3
RIGHT OF WAY
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.
  
WHAT IS HIGHWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY?

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.
  
HOW WILL MY RIGHTS BE PROTECTED DURING PROPERTY ACQUISITION?

According to Article V of the U.S. 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. For more information, contact the district ROW supervisor at 570-963-4071.
  
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 will also be personally visited by a negotiator, an appraiser, and, if necessary, a relocation advisor. 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 qualified staff appraisers of PennDOT and/or by independent licensed real estate brokers. 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 $500.00 for any reasonable expense incurred for an appraiser, engineer or attorney to evaluate your claim.
 
ROAD MAINTENANCE

HOW DO I GET A POTHOLE FIXED ON A STATE ROAD?

To get a pothole fixed on any state road in Pennsylvania call 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623). Be sure to have the following information available: 1) Name of County, 2) Name of Township/Borough, 3) Name of road, 4) closest intersection. Your name and phone number are optional. You may also submit the same information through the Customer Concern Center found on the PennDOT website under Regional Offices, Name of County, Submit Roadway Concern.
  
MY TOWNSHIP OR BOROUGH HAS NOTIFIED ME OF NECESSARY SIDEWALK AND/OR CURB REPLACEMENT OR INSTALLATION. HOWEVER, I LIVE ALONG A STATE ROAD. WHOM DO I CONTACT?

By Pennsylvania state law, the local municipality or property owner is responsible for the installation, maintenance or replacement of curbing and sidewalks. Contact the Highway Occupancy Permit Office in the PennDOT county office to initiate the proper procedures for installing sidewalks and curbs in accordance with state regulations.
 
ROADSIDE MAINTENANCE

HOW DOES PENNDOT MANAGE THE VEGETATION ALONG STATE HIGHWAYS?

A variety of different techniques are used in combination in order to control brush, grass & weeds; to prune & remove hazardous trees; for erosion & sedimentation control and area beautification. Contact PennDOT’s District 4’s Roadside Specialist, Bill Fives, at (570) 963-4016.
  
HOW CAN I "ADOPT A HIGHWAY?"
You can contact Anna Fuhr at (570) 963-4010 or email afuhr@pa.gov.
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS
HOW CAN I GET A STUDENT-WALKING ROUTE DECLARED HAZARDOUS?
Only school districts may request a study of a student-walking route by contacting the District Traffic unit at (570) 963-4819 for information.
SIGNS
THERE ARE HIGHWAY SIGNS IN MY YARD WHERE IT MEETS THE ROAD. WHY ARE THEY PLACE THERE, AND CAN THEY BE MOVED?

Local municipalities and PennDOT install signs along the right-of-way to guide, warn, and regulate the motoring public. Although your yard may appear to run to the road's edge in some cases, local municipalities and PennDOT may consider relocating signs if they are not installed according to regulations.
  
WHAT ARE RED DETOUR, BLACK DETOUR, GREEN DETOUR AND BLUE DETOUR SIGNS?

The color detours are predetermined detours to be used in case of an emergency (crash, weather, etc.) that closes a section of the interstate.
  
HOW DO I GET MY BUSINESS LOGO ON ONE OF THOSE BLUE HIGHWAY SIGNS?

The logo signs are controlled by the PA Tourism Logo Sign Trust.  Contact the PA Tourism Logo Sign Trust, P. O. Box 4830, Harrisburg PA 17111-4830, at 717-412-4378 or 877-272-1332.
 
SPEED LIMITS

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SPEED LIMITS? HOW DO I GET THE SPEED LIMIT CHANGED?

Local municipalities and PennDOT are responsible for setting speed limits. Contact your local municipality who will then request an engineering and traffic study to be done by PennDOT. 
STATE ROADS AND BRIDGES
  
HOW MANY STATE ROADS AND BRIDGES ARE THERE IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA?

PennDOT District 4 is responsible for over 3932 miles of state roadways and 2090 state-controlled bridges.  
  
TRAFFIC CONDITIONS

WHERE CAN I FIND CURRENT TRAFFIC CONDITIONS ON ANY PARTICULAR ROADWAY?

You can call 511 or visit 511PA.com for interstate conditions. There you will find information on All interstates throughout Pennsylvania.  You can follow district 4 on twitter at 511PA Northeast.
 
HOW CAN I SIGN UP FOR THE WEEKLY ROAD REPORT?
Anyone who wishes to receive the weekly road report and other traffic updates by emailing James May at jamay@pa.gov.
  
WHERE CAN I GO FOR TRAFFIC COUNTS ON STATE HIGHWAYS?

 Select Forms, Pubs & Maps, Maps page, and Traffic Volume under Map Resources at the PennDOT website.
   
TRAFFIC SIGNALS

Who is responsible for traffic signals? Does that include changing signal timing?
How does someone request a traffic signal? Why is PennDOT involved when a signal is on a municipal highway?
Once PennDOT installs a signal, local municipalities own and maintain them, even those that are on state roads. The installation of signals must be approved by PennDOT. Permits for signals are issued by PennDOT in order to insure uniformity of signal designation and operation. For more information, contact Tom Pichiarella, Assistant Traffic Engineer-signals at 570-963-3187. 
 
TRUCK RESTRICTIONS 

CAN LARGE TRUCKS BE RESTRICTED FROM STATE HIGHWAYS?

Truck restrictions are permitted on state highways only where there are existing weight restrictions on bridges or highways, or in some cases related to highway geometries or crash history. Requests should be made in writing to the District Traffic Engineer or District Administrator, and should include the purpose for restricting trucks and the specific location. If approved, PennDOT will erect the required signs. For more information about Posted and Bonded road ways, use the Projects & Programs drop down at the top of the page and select Posted and Bonded Roadway Program.  
     
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 and national weather services, local forecasting by media, and by remaining in contact with neighboring counties. These elements enable PennDOT to quickly mobilize our employees and equipment to handle approaching storms. Check the big blue snowflake button on the top page of this website during winter.
  
I DON’T LIVE ON A MAIN ROAD. WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG FOR PENNDOT TO SERVICE MY ROAD?

PennDOT services roads on a priority basis based on traffic volume. State roads and the highest amount of traffic, such as interstates and four-lane highways, receive service first, followed by secondary traffic routes, rural roads, etc. During a winter storm, PennDOT employees, and contractors hired by PennDOT, work around-the-clock so that all roads receive adequate service in priority order.
  
WHAT DOES PENNDOT PUT ON ROADS DURING A WINTER STORM?

Prior to storms, salt brine is sprayed on some roadways, depending on the type of storm that is approaching and the availability of the spraying equipment. During the storm the roads are treated with salt or a salt and anti-skid combination. Anti-skid is a natural or man-made material such as sand, fine stone or a manufacturing by-product. Salt helps to melt the snow or ice and the anti-skid adds to traction. The amount of material on the roadway depends on the type of road, type and duration of storm and the temperature. In extremely cold storms, below 18° F, anti-skid alone may be used. This is due to the large reduction in the speed of the melting action of salts in extreme temperatures. In some storms, at temperatures between 25 and 18° F, salt is coated with magnesium chloride (MgCl) to accelerate the melting process.
  
HOW DOES PENNDOT SERVICE ALL THE STATE ROADS THROUGHOUT A COUNTY EFFECTIVELY?

Stockpiles containing winter maintenance materials are located throughout each county. Several trucks, with associated personnel, are assigned to each stockpile to service the roads in that area of the county. PennDOT also contracts with local municipalities and contracted or rented snow removal equipment vendors. This contracted or rented equipment is also assigned to the various Stockpiles. 
  
WHAT IS BLACK ICE?

Black ice is a thin but very slippery layer of transparent ice not always visible on the roadway. It can be created by rain, fog or dew that freezes on the road surface. 
  
DOES PENNDOT REPLACE AND/OR RESET MAILBOXES THAT ARE KNOCKED DOWN BY SNOWPLOWS?

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 them caused by snow removal operations. We suggest property owners ensure their mailbox rest on a firm support so it will be better able to withstand the windrow of snow from the plow. For further information contact your local county office.
  
PLOWED SNOW HAS BLOCKED MY DRIVEWAY SHUT. CAN'T THIS BE AVOIDED?

Frequently, PennDOT plows driveways shut after the property owners have already plowed their driveways. This occurs when driveways are cleared early in the storm prior to our complete snow removal operation. Due to the requirement to plow the travel way in a priority order, then to follow-up with a cleanup and widening operation, the last pass, which will travel close to the driveway entrance, may be well after the snowfall has stopped. Several ways that the impact of the plowing operation can be minimized are to remove snow only after the last pass of the State snowplow. Another method is to clean an area, at least 15 feet, to the right side of your driveway as you are facing it from the roadway. This area will allow a plow blade full of snow to be deposited before is reaches your driveway. District 4 posts a diagram of this on the website during the winter season.
  
WHAT ARE THE DATES WHEN IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO HAVE STUDDED SNOW TIRES ON?

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