PennDOT, Turnpike prepare for winter weather

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LUZERNE COUNTY, EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is preparing for what could be a busy week.

A significant winter storm will impact us tonight. Eyewitness News reporter Julie Dunphy shares what PennDOT is doing ahead of the storm.

“This is one of the more snowy years that we’re having this year. Last year there wasn’t too much so a little more busier this year,” highway foreman Frank Kutz said.

PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike crews were busy Monday ahead of another winter storm.

“We’re looking at 1-3 mostly freezing rain, some sleet and probably some snow mixed in,” District 4 community relations director Jessica Kalinoski said.

This wintery mix is expected to hit northeastern Pennsylvania Monday night into Tuesday morning.

“What makes a storm like this dangerous is the ice on the surfaces, you can’t see it and you need to slow down, take your time and leave enough time to get to your destination,” Kalinoski said.

PennDOT crews say there’s not much of a difference between snow and ice prep.

“We just use a different kind of material like on the secondaries where there’s not that much traffic we use a 50/50 mix which is antiskid and salt mix together because that gives you more traction on the roads,” Kutz said.

And on the interstate they use salt. Both PennDOT and Pennsylvania Turnpike crews were filling up at the sheds in Pittston Township. With the freezing rain comes challenges.

“Nothing but a lot of trouble because people don’t want to slow down, they’ve been out here all night, they aren’t slowing down, it’s 27 degrees and it’s raining well 32 is freezing so you should slow down,” Kutz said.

Kutz says the best advice he can give to drivers is to slow down and get behind the plow trucks.

“And if you stay behind it’s actually material melting ice or snow and you’ll get better traction and they’ll be plowing, so it’s best to stay behind the plow trucks instead of trying to get in between them and pass them,” Kutz said.

“Check out 511pa.com before you go out so you can see what the roadways look like and if the traffic has slowed down quite a bit then you can anticipate the roads are probably not very good,” Kalinoski said.

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