Due to the severity of the storm, PennDOT is temporarily reducing the speed limit on several roadways in the east central region of Pennsylvania.
PennDOT is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel but those who must head out will see speeds reduced to 45 mph on the following highways:
• Interstate 78 in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties;
• Interstate 80 in Carbon and Monroe counties;
• Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County;
• Interstate 380 in Monroe County;
• U.S. 22 in Lehigh and Northampton counties;
• Route 33 in Northampton and Monroe counties.
On roadways with speed restrictions, commercial vehicles not affected by restrictions on these or other roadways must move to the right lane.
In addition to the speed restrictions, the following vehicle restrictions are in effect, in accordance with the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan. Restrictions will be lifted as quickly as possible when conditions are safe.
• Tier 2:
o I-78 in Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton counties;
o U.S. 22 Lehigh and Northampton counties;
o Route 33 in Monroe and Northampton counties.
• Tier 4 (no commercial vehicles):
o I-80 in Carbon and Monroe counties;
o I-81 in Schuylkill County;
o I-380 in Monroe County.
Under Tier 2 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:
• Tractors without trailers.
• Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers.
• Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers.
• Tractors towing loaded tandem trailers without chains or Alternate Traction Devices (ATDs).
• Enclosed unloaded or lightly loaded cargo delivery trucks/box trucks that meet the definition of a CMV.
• Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers.
• Recreational vehicles/motorhomes.
• School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches, regardless of the availability of trains or ATDs.
Tire chains or ATDs do not need to be installed under Tier 2 restrictions but need to be readily available for use should the vehicle become stuck and not be able to move because of poor traction.
On roadways with Tier 4 restrictions in place, no commercial vehicles are permitted. Additionally, all school buses, commercial buses, motor coaches, motorcycles, RVs/motorhomes and passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers are not permitted on affected roadways while restrictions are in place.
Although PennDOT crews have been treating roadways, the department’s primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.
While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check 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.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional X alerts.
The department also asks motorists to allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials.
PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should account for special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.
More information about how to prepare for any type of emergency, including free downloadable checklists of items to keep in your home, car, and at work, and specific information for people with access and functional needs or pets, is available on the Ready PA webpage.
For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter.
Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Berks, Carbon. Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District5.
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