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Winter Storm Prompts Highway Travel Restrictions In Pennsylvania

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Travel restrictions are coming to some Pennsylvania highways in the face of an anticipated winter storm New Year’s Day.

The sleet and freezing rain are expected to hit the western end of the state about 11 a.m., said PennDOT spokesperson Alexis Campbell, and head east over the course of the day.

PennDOT is advising motorists to stay home during the storm.

“We’re really encouraging people to avoid travel if possible, and hopefully with it being a holiday that’ll help,” said Campbell.

The impact will likely be greatest in the northern reaches of the state and at higher elevations.

Starting at 10 a.m., the length of I-99 will be subject to restrictions prohibiting vehicles including motorcycles, RVs and motorhomes, and all commercial vehicles except single trailers with chains or approved alternate-traction devices. These limits will also apply on I-80 from I-99 east to the New Jersey border starting at noon.

Also at noon, a looser set of restrictions permitting a wider range of commercial vehicles will take effect on I-80 from I-79 east to I-99. Motorcycles, RVs, and other vehicles will still be prohibited.

In addition, the speed limit on restricted roads will be reduced to 45 mph for all vehicles.

PennDOT is urging those who do travel to observe safe driving habits including increased following distance, said Campbell.

“We’re really just encouraging people to be very careful and to reduce speeds and to be aware that while we’re doing as much as we can to pre-treat the roads and to salt them, icy spots can still happen,” she said.

At press time, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission had announced no planned travel restrictions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

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Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: