Harrisburg, PA – In anticipation of significant snow fall across Pennsylvania beginning Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will impose a series of restrictions on most interstates beginning at 8 PM.
PennDOT is imposing a ban on empty straight CDL-weighted trucks, tractors hauling double trailers, tractors hauling empty trailers, trailers pulled by passenger vehicles and pick-up trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicles, or RVs, on:
- Interstate 676 (entire length)
- Interstate 476 between the Turnpike and Interstate 95.
- Interstate 76 across the state, which includes the Schuylkill Expressway and the East-West Turnpike mainline.
- Interstates 276 and 476, a portion of the mainline Turnpike in southeastern Pennsylvania and the entire Northeastern Extension.
- Interstate 176 (entire length)
- Interstate 95 (entire length)
- Interstate 78 (entire length)
- Interstate 80 from the New Jersey line to the junction with Interstate 81.
- Interstate 81 from the Maryland line to the junction with Interstate 80.
- Interstate 99 (entire length)
- Interstate 79 from the Turnpike to Interstate 80.
In addition, also beginning at 8 PM, a full ban on commercial vehicles will be imposed on:
- Interstate 70, from the Maryland line to the Turnpike.
- Interstate 83 (entire length)
- Interstate 84 (entire length)
- Interstate 380 (entire length)
A commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle used for commerce and meets one of the following conditions:
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 17,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater.
- Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
- Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation.
- Is a school bus.
- Is transporting hazardous materials which is required to be placarded in accordance with Department regulations.
Restrictions will remain in place as long as conditions warrant. As conditions develop, speed restrictions will be considered on these routes. If the forecast changes, PennDOT will quickly review and possibly adjust or lift the restrictions.
If traveling during severe winter weather, motorists should make sure their gas tank is full and they pack an emergency kit, which should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. Remember also any special needs, such as baby food, pet supplies or medications.
When queues form and roadways are expected to be closed for long periods because of crashes and other traffic disruptions, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency can activate the 511PAConnect system to establish contact via cellphone to trapped motorists.
Motorists are reminded that roadways will not be free of snow while precipitation is falling. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning. Motorists should leave plenty of space — six car lengths — when following a truck that is plowing or spreading winter materials. Also, reduced speeds are a must when traveling during snow events.
While driving in severe weather, motorists should follow these protocols:
- always travel at a safe speed for conditions, no matter what the posted limit is;
- allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks; and
- never pass a truck that is actively plowing or spreading salt
While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 850 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the "Check My Route" tool.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rich Kirkpatrick, 717-439-1787