Butler, Westmoreland Counties gear up for winter storm

Southwest Pennsylvania is preparing for a snowstorm on Sunday evening. The Channel 11 Severe Weather Team is keeping viewers updated with how different areas are preparing for the winter weather.

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Butler County

Butler PennDOT crews are gearing up for Sunday’s potential snow storm. Friday, 11 News saw trucks getting everything ready to go, stocking up on salt and prepping all the plow trucks.

As the omicron variant continues to spread, PennDOT officials say they have a plan in place, just in case any crews are out sick at the last minute.

“We’ve already talked to a lot of operators to let them know get everything planned ahead of time incase there’s a crew short if someone is off sick we have coverage for them,” said Troy Adamosky with Butler PennDOT. “We always call on our opposite shift or we use any of our temporary operators that we can.”

PennDOT officials in Butler County say they have plenty of supplies for this next round of snow. They plan to pretreat the roads depending on the timing of the storm, and then will continue maintaining the back roads and main roads when the storm hits.

Adamosky says they are focusing on I-79, Route 422 and Route 8, as well as any high traffic roads. Roads that are traveled on less will come last.

Crews will be working around the clock during and after the storm, each working 12 hour shifts.

Since the snow is expected to come down during the Steelers Sunday night playoff game and into Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, PennDOT officials says the timing will help them.

“It benefits us because there won’t nearly be as many people out on the roads and less chance of anybody getting in an accidents that’s always a plus for us,” Adamosky explained.

PennDOT officials suggest that drivers avoid the roads when the snow hits, and to get what you need ahead of time. If you have to be out on the roads, make sure to take it slow and give the plow trucks plenty of room.

Westmoreland County

In Westmoreland County, crews say they’re hoping for the best, but preparing for anywhere from 5 to 9 inches.

“It’s tough, we would like for people that do have alternate parking on some of these streets to use that alternative parking,” said Tom Bell with Greensburg Public Works. “It makes it tough for a big truck like this to navigate some of the streets where they have inches on each side of the plow to get through.”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike maintenance is expected to have a full fleet on the 13-mile stretch that the Greensburg maintenance covers, and they’re prepared.

“We got 12 trucks that will be running, 3 loaders and 2 salt domes, 10000 gallons of calcium and 5000 gallons of salt brine,” said John Mitcheson, a foreman with Greensburg Turnpike Maintenance.

One thing is working in favor of the road crews, a Sunday Steeler game the night before a national holiday.

“And Monday’s Martin Luther king day, so a lot of people should be home so we can do our job,” Mitcheson said. “Especially in town, the courthouse is off which is a major hub in our town, we have a lot of parking for the courthouse.. it’ll make it a lot easier for trucks to navigate and get things opened up.”

There won’t be much pretreating going on with this storm, but Greensburg City says they’ll try to do some when the light snow starts. The turnpike is going to run a 24 hour shift to clear as much snow as they can.