PennDOT reduces speed limit on area roadways as snow settles over area

Due to the winter storm gripping the region, The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is temporarily reducing speed limits on several east central Pennsylvania roadways.

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

Interstate 78 in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties; Interstate 80 in Carbon and Monroe counties; Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County; Interstate 380 in Monroe County;

PennDOT may expand highway restrictions if storm conditions warrant.

The area remains under a Winter Weather Advisory through 7 p.m. Saturday, with the National Weather Service Forecasting 3-5 inches of snow through the evening.

Although PennDOT has crews treating roadways around the clock, the department’s primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways throughout the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.

Although PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras.

The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA website.

The department also asks motorists to allow plenty of space when driving near plow trucks. Also, for their own safety and the safety of plow operators, motorists should never attempt to pass a truck while it is plowing or spreading winter materials.

PennDOT reminds motorists to pack an emergency kit for their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.

PennDOT also reminds citizens that downloadable materials, including home and car emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, are available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA. Citizens can find information about getting involved in local emergency response efforts and other volunteer opportunities through the Web site or the toll-free line.

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit www.dot.state.pa.us/winter.

Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAAllentown.

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