With the winter season upon us, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 6 outlined its plans for winter at the new Bucks County maintenance facility in Plumstead Township.
“Whatever the weather brings this winter, PennDOT will be ready,” Assistant District Executive for Maintenance John Krafczyk said. “Our crews are well-trained for severe weather events and how to execute preventive measures to lessen the impacts from winter storms.
In anticipation of winter weather, District 6 participates in statewide web conferences with department staff, weather experts and officials from PEMA, State Police and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to discuss preparations or sharing resources as needed.
District 6 is responsible for over 11,000 snow lanes miles on state highways in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. A snow-lane is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes, which means a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.
With $29.6 million budgeted for this winter’s operations in the region, the District 6 fleet consists of 181 state snow trucks and 261 private contractor trucks. The number of contractor trucks used for each event is determined by the severity of each storm. The department also has 95 winter municipal agreements in place which cover nearly 3,000 snow lane miles of state highway.
When winter weather hits, PennDOT’s primary focus is on interstates, expressways and other major routes. Equipment may be redirected to those highways during significant winter events. If motorists encounter a snowplow on the roadway, they should slow down and drive at least six car lengths behind the plow to ensure safety for everyone. Motorists should never pass a snowplow because plow blades are wider than the truck.
“Our equipment operators have an enormous amount of responsibility during a storm as they plow snow; monitor computers that control the flow of salt; track pavement temperatures; and watch for traffic and possible roadside obstacles,” Krafczyk added.
PennDOT recommends that motorists prepare for potential bad weather by carrying an emergency kit in their vehicles. The kit should include non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, small shovel, cell phone charger and any other items necessary for families to have, such as baby or pet supplies, and medications. For more information on preparing for winter, visit www.PennDOT.gov/winter.