PennDOT: Motorists urged to avoid travel tonight, tomorrow

Expect rain sleet ice

Motorists are urged to avoid travel tonight and tomorrow if the can as the result of a winter storm that is supposed to bring freezing rain, ice and sleet tonight.

The snow predicted for Franklin County this afternoon is pretty much off the table now, however, according to the National Weather Service. Instead, NWS is calling for freezing rain and sleet before 2 a.m. overnight, then rain. Tonight’s low will be around 30. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New ice accumulation of around a 0.1 of an inch possible.

PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are taking no chances, however, and they say the public should not either.

The two agencies have put a plan into place to limit traffic on some state roads today and tomorrow. Interstates 81and 83 will not be affected by the restrictions.

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In response to winter weather and the potential for icy conditions through much of the state today, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) plan to implement restrictions on trucks and other vehicles on certain roadways around the state. These restrictions will begin at 6:00 PM today and remain in place until conditions warrant their removal. Additional speed and vehicle restrictions on these and other interstates could be added depending on changing conditions.

READ: Expect snow and ice this week

Restrictions

Effective at 6 p.m. today these restrictions are planned for the following roadways at Tier 1 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • Interstate 70 from the West Virginia border to the PA Turnpike;
  • Interstate 76 (PA Turnpike mainline) in both directions from the Breezewood interchange (Exit 161) to the Ohio border;
  • The entire length of Interstate 79;
  • Interstate 80 from Interstate 99 to the Ohio border;
  • The entire length of Interstate 86, Interstate 90, Interstate 279, Interstate 376; and Interstate 579.

Under Tier 1 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:

  • Tractors without trailers, or towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers;
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers;
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV;
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers;
  • Recreational vehicles/motorhomes;
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches not carrying chains or Alternate Traction Devices (ATD’s); and
  • Motorcycles.

Restrictions will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website and smartphone apps. Motorists can also sign up for alerts by clicking on “Personal Alerts” in the left-hand menu.

Slick roads tomorrow morning

PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel during the storm if possible. But if travel is necessary, use caution, reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions. Freezing temperatures are expected during this event, so motorists should be aware of blowing and drifting snow, which can cause icy areas on roadways, including overpasses and bridges. With freezing temperatures, roads that only look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning.

To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting the website, which is free and available 24 hours a day. It provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 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, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

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