PennDOT readies trucks for snow & ice - abc27 WHTM

PennDOT readies trucks for snow & ice

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Beeping could be heard as PennDOT trucks backed into the salt dome off Herr Street in Harrisburg. Many plow drivers began preparing their trucks to tackle Jack Frost in what might be the toughest fight this winter.

PennDOT's Dauphin County District Manager, Dale Good, said his conference with state meteorologists had him concerned for Wednesday morning's daily commute.

"Sounds like it's going to be a mess!" he said.

Good said crews were working around the clock Tuesday despite a sunny, clear day. He said because this winter has been so tough, may plows had blades replaced before the overnight storm.

Good said his biggest concern with the ice involved Monday's snow. He said the several inches of snow still remaining on trees and power lines could become significantly heavy if the ice clings.

"If we get some ice on top of that, we're going to have a lot of trees and power lines possibly come down," Good said.

It is one of many obstacles crews are planning for. Another is the wintry cocktail of snow, rain and sleet that may come down in the early hours. The mix can be tricky for preparing roadways since rain tends to dilute or wash away salt on the roads.

In order to battle ice, PennDOT said they use a 50/50 mixture of salt and gravel, which tends to offer more traction.

"It gives a little bit of grit on the roadway," Good said.

If you see snow on the roads tomorrow morning, PennDOT said that is yet another tactic.

"We'll actually leave a little bit of snow on some of the secondary roads so that the ice doesn't bond to the road or pavement," Good said.

The National Weather Service in State College has issued a winter storm warning for central Pennsylvania from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. Wednesday. The warning also mentioned low visibility on roadways.

Harrisburg resident Rob Foster works at the Hollywood Casino in Grantville. He said traveling to work in winter weather is always a treacherous journey.

"It's a good distance," he said, "and it's slippery going up the hills."

Veteran PennDOT driver Michael Koppenhaver has been out in all sorts of winter weather, and ice concerns him the most. He said ice storms not only slicken roadways and down trees, but tailgating drivers and difficult visibility make doing his job even more dangerous.

His advice: stay home.

"It don't matter if it's PennDOT or if it's the motoring public, to be out in that type of environment, anything can happen at any time and you could be the victim of it," he said.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency officials recommended drivers have extra supplies and a kit with medicine, flashlight, batteries, and jumper cables.


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