PennDOT plans vehicle restrictions for New Year’s Day in anticipation of icy roadways

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Freezing Rain on Interstate
In anticipation of freezing precipitation on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will implement restrictions on several interstates beginning at 10 a.m.

HARRISBURG, Penn. — In anticipation of frozen precipitation and potentially icy roadway conditions in many areas, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advising motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel during the upcoming storm. PennDOT plans to implement travel restrictions on trucks and other vehicles on certain roadways around the state, which will remain in place until conditions warrant their removal.

“Our team is ready and will work before and throughout the storm,” said Yassmin Gramian, PennDOT secretary. “Any icing presents a challenge because rain will wash away some material, and ice is less visible to motorists than snow.”

The following restrictions will be implemented Friday, Jan. 1, 2021:

At 10 a.m., vehicle restrictions will be implemented reflecting Level 3 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan on the entire length of Interstate 99 in both directions.

At noon, vehicle restrictions will be implemented reflecting Level 1 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan on Interstate 80 from Interstate 79 to Interstate 99.

Also at noon, vehicle restrictions will be implemented reflecting Level 3 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan on Interstate 80 from Interstate 99 to the New Jersey border.

At 2 p.m., vehicle restrictions reflecting Level 4 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan will be implemented on the following roadways:

  • Interstate 81 north of Interstate 80 in both directions;
  • The entire length of Interstate 84 in both directions; and
  • The entire length of Interstate 380 in both directions.

The following vehicles are not allowed on roadways with Level 1 restrictions in place:

  • Tractors without trailers;
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers;
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers;
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle;
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers;
  • Recreational vehicles/motorhomes;
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches; and
  • Motorcycles.

On roadways with Level 3 restrictions in place, no commercial vehicles are permitted EXCEPT loaded single trailers with chains or approved alternate traction devices. 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.

On roadways with Level 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.

While restrictions are in place, speed limits will be reduced to 45 mph on these roadways for all vehicles; commercial vehicles not affected by the restrictions must move to the right lane. Additional speed restrictions on other interstates could be added depending on changing conditions.

Restrictions will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website at www.511PA.com and smartphone apps. Motorists can also sign up for alerts on www.511PA.com by clicking on “Personal Alerts” in the left-hand menu.

Icy conditions are expected across the state, and PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel if possible. If travel is necessary, use caution, reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions. PennDOT is pre-treating roadways to help prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of a storm. However, salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadways. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps, where ice can form without warning.

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