PennDOT works to clear debris from Pennsylvania highways ahead of approaching storms

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Friday, January 5, 2024
PennDOT works to clear highway debris ahead of approaching storms
PennDOT works to clear highway debris ahead of approaching storms

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- PennDOT is trying to clear debris and unclog drains on the major highways before this weekend's winter storm that's expected to bring a lot of precipitation.

That storm will be quicky followed by another system set to bring a significant amount of rain early next week.

Debris is a problem on the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76). Action News saw debris, garbage, tires and even trees on the side of the road. On Friday an Action News vehicle even got a flat tire after hitting debris.

A PennDOT spokeswoman said maintenance crews do clean the roads but it's tough to keep up.

"The problem is, and we talk about this a lot every year with litter, as soon as cleanup is done, about a week to two weeks later the highway may almost look like nothing has been done," said Robyn Briggs, a PennDOT spokeswoman.

PennDOT is monitoring the approaching winter storm that is expected to bring some snow before switching over to heavy rain. Crews will be clearing the drains and treating the roads leading up to the storm.

"Check for anything covering the drains and they're going to look for any type of debris that's bigger than a tire," said Briggs.

That preventative maintenance should help keep the lanes from flooding, but many drivers plan to steer clear of the major roads.

"I call it the 'sure kill distress way.' It's crazy no matter when you drive on it," said Jason Darnell, who is familiar with the interstate.