PennDOT removes some vehicle restrictions due to winter storm

Speeds are still reduced to 45 mph on some Pennsylvania highways.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- PennDOT crews moved swiftly Sunday afternoon ahead of a storm that brought a wintry mix to the Delaware Valley.

"This is a complex storm that will make travel difficult, if not downright treacherous, at times during the overnight hours and into Monday morning," said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Executive Deputy Director Jeff Thomas. "PEMA will be in close contact with our county emergency management and state agency partners to stay aware of conditions and provide help when needed."

Among the largest concerns for officials: drivers on roadways during and after the storm.

"We urge Pennsylvanians and visitors to stay in and stay warm during this storm and only travel if absolutely necessary," officials said.

PennDOT has lifted some of the temporary speed restrictions on major roadways in the PennDOT District 5 region that includes Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.

PennDOT is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel but those who must head out will still see speeds reduced to 45 mph on the following highways:

  • Interstate 80 in Carbon and Monroe counties;
  • Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County;
  • Interstate 380 in Monroe County;
  • U.S. 209 in Carbon, Schuylkill and Monroe counties;
  • U.S. 222 in Berks and Lehigh counties;
  • Route 33 in Monroe and Northampton counties.

Commercial vehicles must stay in the right lane while the speed restriction is in place on these roads. Additional restrictions on other roadways could be added depending on changing conditions.

In addition to the speed restrictions, vehicle restrictions were implemented Sunday. Vehicle restrictions reflect Tier 2 of the commonwealth's weather event vehicle restriction plan, and are in effect on the following roadways:

  • Interstate 78 in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties;
  • Interstate 80 in Carbon and Monroe counties;
  • Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County;
  • Interstate 176 in Berks County;
  • Route 33 in Monroe and Northampton counties.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:

  • Tractors without trailers;
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers;
  • Tractors towing loaded tandem trailers unless there are chains or another approved Alternate Traction Device on board;
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV;
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV's, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers;
  • Recreational vehicles/motorhomes;
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches;
  • and Motorcycles.

Vehicle restrictions are in place at Tier 3 of the commonwealth's weather event vehicle restriction plan on the entire length of I-380 in Monroe County. On roadways with Tier 3 restrictions in place, no commercial vehicles are permitted EXCEPT loaded single trailers with chains or approved Alternate Traction Devices. Additionally, all school buses, commercial buses, motor coaches, motorcycles, RVs/motorhomes and passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers are not permitted on affected roadways while restrictions are in place.

The purpose of the restrictions is to help ensure the interstates remain open during the most challenging conditions of the winter storm. When conditions improve, PennDOT will remove the travel restrictions.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.