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PennDOT urges drivers to be prepared for winter storm

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HARRISBURG , Pa.– As the entire state braces for the impact of the storm Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is urging drivers to be prepared for the conditions and act accordingly.

“Exactly how much snow or ice any given region will see will vary through the storm, but it’s certain that the forecast could mean potentially hazardous travel through tomorrow,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We expect that much of the state will see some sort of icing overnight – that, combined with nighttime visibility, means drivers should consider postponing any unnecessary trips.”

PennDOT crews treated roadways through the weekend and could face anything from up to a foot of snow to half an inch of ice with this storm. The department has more than 2,200 trucks, plows and salt spreaders operated by 4,800 department operators statewide who will operate with continued shifts through the storm.

With each operator having an average of 40 miles to cover on a plow route, motorists are reminded that roads will not be free of ice and snow during the storm. On interstates and expressways during a low-accumulation storm, it can take two or more hours for a truck to return to the beginning of its route. Since trucks are often moved from other roads to these priority highways, especially with higher accumulations or icy conditions, drivers should expect that lower-traffic roads will see a plow cycle every several hours.

Motorists are also urged to check www.511PA.com before making any travel decisions. 511PA is a free, around-the-clock service offering travel information such as incidents, any speed or vehicle restrictions, winter road conditions and more than 700 traffic cameras. The public can also track more than 700 department and contracted trucks on interstates and expressways statewide with the site’s “Plow Trucks” option.

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.

“Our crews will work around the clock through the storm and if it’s snowing harder, is icy or they’re caught in traffic with other motorists, it will take longer for routes to be completed,” Richards said. “If drivers must be on the road, especially in icy conditions, they must be prepared.”

Richards noted that drivers should have their vehicle emergency kits packed or restocked. The kit should contain items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter operations and tips for motorists, visit www.penndot.gov/winter.