In anticipation of the impending winter storm, the Pa. Turnpike Commission (PTC) will ban all empty and double tractor-trailers beginning at 11 p.m. tonight. The ban will be in effect on the turnpike from Breezewood (Exit #161) to the Delaware River Bridge (Exit #359) and the entire Northeastern Extension (I-476) from Mid County (Exit #20) to Clarks Summit (Exit #131).
The storm is expected to move into South-Central Pennsylvania from the south around midnight and then quickly move east and north; periods of heavy snowfall are anticipated throughout the storm. Snow is expected to accumulate more than an inch per hour, and wind gusts near 30 mph are expected to cause drifting and low visibility.
The first hour that the storm rolls in will create fast-changing roadway conditions; it’s imperative that motorists use extreme caution as the snow begins to fall. Last week’s deadly turnpike accident in Cumberland County involving four tractor-trailers occurred during the storm’s opening volley.
“The first hour is critical for drivers because some stretches of roadway may be clear and dry, but can quickly become snow-covered and slippery,” noted Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey. “From what we know of this storm, it’s likely to be the worst of the year to date, so please venture out only if you need to be on the road, adjust your speed accordingly and prepare your vehicle and occupants for cold-weather conditions.”
The PTC will lower the speed limit to 45 miles per hour in areas where conditions warrant.
Extra maintenance crews and Pennsylvania State Police patrols will be on duty across the turnpike system. They will be clearing the roadway and assisting motorists as needed. For safety reasons, drivers should not pass plow trucks clearing the roadway.
Throughout the storm, PTC officials will be working closely with PennDOT to monitor the storm and roadway conditions and implement further restrictions as needed for traveler safety.
For up-to-the-minute turnpike conditions, check the live Travel Conditions Map online at www.paturnpike.com/webmap or call 866-976-TRIP (8747) for restrictions and closures. The turnpike’s free smartphone app, “trip talk,” provides iPhone and Droid users with audio alerts for their specific location and direction of travel. Visit www.paturnpike.com/triptalk to learn more.
To report an accident or other emergency on the Pa. Turnpike, remember to dial *11 from a mobile phone.