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Road crews getting ready for messy winter storm targeting western Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH — After initial rainfall across western Pennsylvania, precipitation will change to a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Here’s how local road crews will handle the impacts of the winter storm that started Wednesday night and will continue into Friday.


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said it will have more than 70 trucks out on the roads.

Crews won’t be pretreating roads, as the rain will wash away the salt.

PennDOT said it has plenty of salt and skid available, and there is no concern of running out of supplies.

A spokesperson said they will most likely implement restrictions on the highways.

Pittsburgh Department of Public Works

The Pittsburgh Department of Public Works said shifts started at 6 p.m. Wednesday and crews will work throughout Thursday and into Friday to treat and clear streets.

Due to the rain before the wintry mix, the DPW said it cannot pretreat roads.

There will be about 40 trucks on overnight shifts and 60 trucks during the day.

Allegheny County Public Works

From snow to ice, the big question to county leaders is how to prepare for this type of storm.

“At this time, we can’t pretreat the roads because it will just get washed away,” said Stephen Shanley with Allegheny County Public Works.

So just like you, Allegheny County Public Works crews will be looking to Severe Weather Team 11 on Thursday to see when those conditions change from rain to ice.

“We will have our trucks available loaded with salt, ready to treat our roads,” Shanley said.

That’s over 30 trucks planning for 24-hour coverage as the ice then turns to snow.

AAA: Tips if you can’t stay home

With the changing conditions, the best advice from the professionals is to stay at home.

“It seems simple, but that’s the easiest way to keep you and your family safe,” said Tiffany Stanley with AAA East.

If you do have to go out for work or an emergency, AAA recommends you prepare with snow essentials in your car, like an ice scraper.

>>RELATED STORY: What to keep in your emergency car kit for dangerous winter weather

“If you do start to skid, you don’t want to panic. Our first instinct is to slam on the brakes, and you don’t want to do that. You want to keep the wheel in the direction you are going. So, if you are going straight, keep it straight. Take your foot off the gas and slowly put it on the brake,” Stanley said.

AAA said it anticipates an influx of calls when the storm hits. When it comes to towing and help, stranded motorists on the side of the road will take priority over people who may be stuck with a dead battery at home.