DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – PennDOT and state police are getting ready for this weekend’s storm.
Officials here in the northeast are calling the storm an “all hands on deck” event.
In an effort to be much more proactive, Governor Tom Wolf is banning all commercial truck traffic on most interstates across the commonwealth beginning at noon on Saturday.
Big rigs were moving like normal on Interstate 84 Friday afternoon.
As of noon-time on Saturday they will all have to be off major interstates as a major winter storm bears down on the East Coast.
The governor’s office released a map highlighting all of the major interstates, like 80, 81, 84 and 380, where no trucks will be allowed.
The ban will last until noon on Sunday.
“This is more aggressive and different than what we’ve done in the past where we’ve just had a restriction on certain trucks, maybe if they’re empty trucks, but this is a full commercial vehicle ban,” PennDOT spokesman James May said.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, PennDOT says it has 100,000 tons of salt and anti-skid ready to keep the roads passable.
The average plow truck is responsible for roughly 40 miles of road and if the snow comes down at two inches an hour at times that can pose a challenge.
“It takes them, to go 40 miles in this type of weather, it takes sometimes two to three hours!” Dennis Giordano, PennDOT’s assistant director of maintenance said.
During a big storm back in November, some roads became so snow-covered drivers actually abandoned their vehicles.
State police say don’t do that.
“If you abandon your vehicles, they will get towed. That is the one message I want to get across today!” Pennsylvania State Trooper Bob Urban said.
In order to get ahead of the storm, PennDOT is working with towing companies, like DeNaples Towing, to pre-position heavy-duty wreckers in case they’re needed.
They will have at least three sites in Lackawanna County alone.
“We have one at the Waverly exit, one at the 84/380 split and one down by Moosic. They seem to be the most problem areas,” John Skumanick of DeNaples Towing said.
PennDOT says it will be placing 45 mile-per-hour speed restrictions in place on roads on Saturday but the timing of that will be dictated by the storm itself.
Governor Tom Wolf has signed a “State of Emergency” declaration ahead of the storm to allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs.