PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is gearing up for winter weather, outlining its preparation plan Thursday while offering safety tips for drivers.
In Allegheny County alone, PennDOT covers 3,548 snow-lane miles with a crew that consists of 133 full-time drivers and 14 temporary drivers.
Some plows feature designs from are high schools to encourage drivers to be safe. The theme is "Don't Rush in Ice and Slush."
PennDOT's trucks have been inspected and are ready to go for the start of the winter season. There are 65 plow trucks in Allegheny County and 23 rental trucks.
There are 17 stockpiles that have been stocked with over 29,000 tons of salt. Last winter, just over 37,000 tons of salt were used, officials said.
Based on the type of weather event, PennDOT will determine whether anti-icing or pretreating is necessary, and plows will be stationed at key locations, such as alongside ramps and turnarounds.
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In caring for the 3,548 snow-lane miles in Allegheny County, PennDOT utilizes municipality agreements to help cover some roadways.
One way PennDOT monitors road conditions is through the use of cameras in its traffic management center.
PennDOT wants other drivers on the roads to remember that if they're stuck in traffic, so are the plow trucks.
Interstates and higher-volume roadways are top priorities for PennDOT, officials said.
As needed, based on the type of weather event, plows will be redirected off lower-volume roadways to higher-volume roadways.
When treating interstates, PennDOT uses what it calls team plowing. Other drivers are urged to give trucks plenty of space and avoid trying to cut between them.
When it comes to winter driving, PennDOT offers the following advice:
- Check your fluid levels, lights, defrosters, windshield wipers and tire pressure.
- Have an emergency kit with extra water, blankets, a change of clothing, a small shovel, a flashlight, a cellphone charger and other items that might fit your needs, such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.
- Clear your vehicle of snow and ice. Drivers can be cited if snow or ice dislodges from their vehicle, potentially striking another vehicle or causing a crash.
- Allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Avoid distractions, such as cellphones.
- Do not follow too closely behind plow trucks. Give them room.
If you see any issues on the road, you can call PennDOT customer care at 1-800-fix-road or you can click here to submit a concern online.
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