By Matt Maisel
YORK – PennDOT workers and area tow truck drivers started their Saturday long before the snow began to fall.
Saturday’s storm, which dumped inches of snow across the region, was considered one of the busiest days of the season for local road workers. At PennDOT in York County, a fleet of 74 trucks plowed snow and laid salt across the region’s busiest roads and highways.
Mike Martin, Maintenance Director for PennDOT in York County, told FOX43 his crew of over 150 people were on-call, splitting 12-hour shifts from midnight to noon, and noon to midnight.
“This is our biggest event of the year,” Martin said. “It did warm up some but with the cold, initially temperatures were in teens when snow started. We need to apply more material.”
Treating area roads haven’t been a problem for Martin’s caravan, as PennDOT’s trucks carry, on average, about 18 tons of rock salt per load. The issue has been the amount of snow lasting all day.
“It’s looking like at this point people will be out until midnight,” Martin said. “So, we'll be around the clock until we clean it up.”
Local highways dropped the speed limit Saturday to 45 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, on smaller roads, tow truck companies scouted the area, searching for vehicles in need of help. Brock Warner, of United Auto Repair in Red Lion, said the early hours Saturday were light, but he expected business to pick up as the day progressed.
“In a couple hours we won't be able to keep up,” said Warner, who added his tow company gets an estimated 50 to 60 calls per day during the winter months, dealing with anything from flat tires to dead batteries and cars needing pulled out of ditches.
“We get so many calls we can't keep up. And it takes a long time to get from one place to another.”
Warner said when the roads become treacherous, his crew, which works with 9-1-1 dispatchers and Pennsylvania state police as well, is only able to get to about 15 calls per day, depending how far it would take to drive.
His biggest piece of advice when driving in winter weather is to purchase snow tires, and if you do get stranded while waiting for a tow, Warner suggests people keep an extra pair of boots, blankets, and gloves in your car, while always having air in a spare tire.