PennDOT Prepping for Wintry, Windy Weather Expected in the Northwest Region
Vehicle Restrictions Planned for Interstate 86 and Interstate 90
Oil City, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is planning for the windy and snowy conditions in the forecast for parts of the Northwest Region this weekend and is advising drivers to do the same.
“The forecast on Friday evening starts with winds and moves to snow on Saturday through Monday. That means our crews, especially in Erie County, must be ready for different roadway needs,” said Aaron Fox, Assistant District 1 Executive – Maintenance. “Our staff will be ready for whatever the weather brings, and we are asking motorists to be partners in keeping everyone safe.”
As part of those safety efforts and based on the forecasted winds, PennDOT is planning to implement Tier 2 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan (PDF) for the entire length of Interstate 86 and Interstate 90 in Erie County. The restrictions are planned to go in place at 4:00 PM on Friday, January 12, but the start time could be changed based on weather conditions.
Under Tier 2 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:
- Tractors without trailers.
- Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers.
- Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers.
- Tractors towing loaded tandem trailers unless there are chains or another approved Alternate Traction Devices (ADTs).
- Enclosed unloaded or lightly loaded cargo delivery trucks/box 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 regardless of the availability of trains or ATDs.
The purpose of the restriction is to help ensure the interstates remain open during the most challenging conditions of the winter storm. When conditions improve, PennDOT will remove the travel restrictions.
Although PennDOT crews will be treating roadways as needed, 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 avoiding or delaying unnecessary travel during winter storms is the safest choice, PennDOT offers this advice if motorists must travel and encounter snow squalls or blowing or drifting snow:
- Stay at least six car lengths back from a plow truck that is treating the roadways.
- Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits conditions.
- Turn on your headlights. If caught in a snow squall, turn on your hazard lights.
- Stay in your lane and increase your following distance.
- Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
- Do not drive distracted; your full attention is required.
- Use your defroster and wipers.
- Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
- During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely pull off the roadway.
- Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could cause a chain-reaction collision.
- Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
- Always buckle up and never drive impaired.
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 X alerts.
For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit www.penndot.pa.gov/winter.
Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties at www.penndot.gov/District1.