In anticipation of frozen precipitation and potentially icy roadway conditions in many areas this weekend, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advising motorists to monitor weather forecasts and postpone unnecessary travel during the storm.
“We are prepared and will work before and throughout the storm,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Any icing presents a challenge because rain will wash away some material, and ice is less visible to motorists than snow.”
If conditions warrant temporary speed-limit reductions or vehicle restrictions, they will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website and smartphone apps. Motorists can also sign up for personalized alerts on the website.
Icy conditions are expected across the state, and PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel if possible. If travel is necessary, use caution, reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions. PennDOT pre-treated roadways where necessary ahead of this week’s storm to help prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of a storm. However, salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadway. With freezing temperatures, roads that 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 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. 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.