Frigid temperatures, icy roads today

Local residents woke up to frigid temperatures and icy roads today, making their morning commute difficult, and risky. PennDOT lowered the speed limit in I-81in Franklin, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties and restricted travel to passenger vehicles.

Icy roadways also kept police and first responders busy answering calls for help when crashes did happen. At 8:45 a.m. Washington Township police was dispatched to the 11700 block of Old Forge Road for one such crash.

PennDOT also placed additional temporary restrictions on certain vehicles from interstates in south central Pennsylvania.

Interstate 83 in Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties, Interstate 81 in Franklin, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties, and Interstate 283 from PA 283 to I-83 are restricted under Tier 4 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

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READ: I-81 NB closed : Snow creates hazardous driving

The types of vehicles prohibited from traveling on the interstate highways under these restrictions are:

•All commercial vehicles, including those equipped with chains;
•Trailers pulled by passenger vehicles;
•Motorcycles; and
•Recreational Vehicles, or RVs.

The idea is to keep the interstates open during the most challenging conditions of the winter storm. When conditions improve, PennDOT will remove the travel restrictions.

Additionally, PennDOT has temporarily reduced the speed limit on interstates and interstate look-alikes in the south central region of Pennsylvania.PennDOT is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel but those who must head out will see speeds reduced to 45 mph on the following highways:

  

  • Interstate 81 in Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin and Lebanon counties;
  • I-83 in Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties;
  • I-283 in Dauphin County.
  • US 15 from Maryland State Line to PA 581;
  • US 22 from I-81 to PA 75;
  • US 30 from US-15 to PA 23;
  • I-78 from I-81 to Mile Marker 10;
  • US 222 from US 30 to PA 568/ PA 272;
  • PA 283, the entire length;
  • US 322 from I-83 to Dauphin/Lebanon County Line, and
  • PA 581, the entire length.

Commercial vehicles must stay in the right lane while this restriction is in place.

Although PennDOT crews have been treating 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 precipitation stops and roads are clear.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 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 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

The department also 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 materials.

PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.

PennDOT also reminds citizens that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at www.Ready.PA.gov or by downloading the free ReadyPA app for Apple or Android devices. Citizens can also find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the ReadyPA website.

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visitwww.PennDOT.gov/winter.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/511PAHarrisburg.

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