PennDOT prepares for storm, urges drivers to use caution

Local road crews also ready for 3rd accumulation of snow this week

Author: , Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published: Dec 24 2013 08:09:57 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 13 2013 06:19:11 PM EST
PennDOT storm preparations
HARRISBURG, Pa. -

PennDOT and road crews across the region are in for a busy weekend, as yet another blast of winter-like weather heads our way.

PennDOT has been in high-gear prep mode. It was crunch time Friday as crews scrambled ahead of the third storm in one week's time.

Plows were getting hooked on, gas was being pumped in and last minute repairs to the fleet of trucks were being made before Saturday's snowfall.

"We'll load them ahead of time before the storm, and we try and get them out here in position in their various routes so as soon as it starts falling we're there," said Ricky Stone, Berks County equipment manager for PennDOT.

It was the same thinking in Wernersville, Berks Co. Officials in the borough just received an 85-ton shipment of salt after running low from the past two storms this week. They plan to pre-treat the roads early to give themselves a window of opportunity.

"After we start plowing, it is easier to plow off when you have a brine down, so that's what we want to accomplish," said Gary Heydt, road supervisor in Wernersville.

Salt and shovels were front and center inside Lowe's in Muhlenberg Township. Stores were ready for more, but the customers, not so much.

"I don't like it. I hate it," said Fred Fackler, who bought a bag of salt Friday.

"It's going to happen. I don't want it to happen, but it's going to happen," said Curt Pritchard, who prayed the storm would head the other way.

"I don't mind it when I'm inside looking out, but too long outside and I'm ready for the warm fireplace again," said Pauline Lendacki, who was shopping for storm supplies.

PennDOT said it will have 42 trucks out across Berks County on Saturday morning, including 16 contracted trucks. Their main priority is the major highways like I-78 and I-176.

Drivers will be working 12-hour shifts, and won't stop until the snow is cleared, said officials.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by visiting the state's 511PA website or by calling 511.