PennDOT combatting icy roads; asks drivers to stay home

Written by on February 16, 2021

PennDOT combatting icy roads; asks drivers to stay home

By Ben Stemrich

February 16, 2021

A snow plow drives across a road in a heavy snowfall in Morrisville, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

An ice storm forecast for the Lehigh Valley might not involve digging out your car, but there is still plenty to be ready for. An official with PennDOT says they’d rather have snow than ice.

Listen to the story.

Black Ice can be nearly invisible, and deadly. PennDOT spokesman Rondald Young says PennDOT trucks are salting the roads, but that only does so much.

“Once it melts it can refreeze quickly, or the rain coming down freezes again. More precipitation in the road and freezes up.”

Young says the most haphazard places are hills on interstates.

“Interstate 78 is always a concern in the Berk county area, Summit Lawn area and Lehigh county. Route 33 in Northampton county parts of other secondary roads like 309 heading out of Lehigh County into Schuylkill County.”

 Young says steep interstates are hot spots for accidents.

“You could have just treated an area 20 minutes ago and it could be refrozen with the freezing rain. It’s a big concern. The ground temperatures are pretty cold right now, so if it comes down and it’s wet it’s going to freeze up.”

Despite several recent big storms, Young says PennDOT has plenty of supplies.

Jane George with PPL Electric says they spend all year aggressively clearing vegetation to help prevent that outcome.

“We also have smart grid technology that helps us know about outages immediately. We are always investing in storm-resistant poles and wires.”

George says there are a few ways to stay ready in case there is a power outage, like having flashlights ready to go.

“One of the easiest you can do is you can charge your phones in any of your devices now when there is electricity. Another thing you can do is prepare by having food, water, and any medication you may need. And in addition, make sure you have any supplies you may need for your pets.”

If you use PPL Electric and experience an outage, you can report it on their website, or text outage to TXTPPL.

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