Plowing accident prompts PennDOT changes
PennDOT is changing the way its crews plow bridges in Butler County after a plow driver pushed snow and ice off a bridge in Muddy Creek Township, injuring a passenger in an SUV on a street below.
“There are hundreds of areas where something like this could happen,” said Bob Skrak, PennDOT's maintenance manager in Butler County, recalling a similar incident a few years ago when snow and ice came off an overpass onto a parked car in Butler.
Skrak said he ordered crews not to plow more snow to the sides of bridges that have snow plowed against their walls until crews remove it with front loaders. In cases where bridges have to be plowed, drivers are being instructed to travel slowly across them, he said.
“We're going to change the way we do business,” Skrak said, noting flag crews will temporarily stop traffic on roads below bridges with large piles of snow while loader trucks clear the excess.
A PennDOT spokeswoman in Harrisburg could not say whether the agency is changing policy anywhere else.
The Butler County order came in response to an incident about 1 p.m. Saturday in which a PennDOT plow pushed snow and ice over a bridge wall along Route 19 and onto an SUV traveling below on Route 422. At least 4 feet of snow already was packed against the bridge wall from earlier plowing, Skrak said.
Ice shattered the SUV's front windshield, state police said. Paramedics took passenger Eric Williams, 39, of Cleveland, Miss., to Jameson Health System in New Castle for treatment of eye injuries, which state police described as minor, officials said. Williams could not be reached for comment.
The falling ice shattered the bottom of the windshield. Skrak said he suspected injuries could have been worse had ice shattered the upper portion of the windshield and sent more glass into the SUV. Five people, including children ages 10 and 3, were in the vehicle.
The plow driver didn't know anything had gone over the side of the bridge until he stopped moments later to help those in the SUV, Skrak said.
“It was an accident, nothing he did intentionally. He feels as bad about it as anyone,” Skrak said, noting PennDOT is not disciplining the driver and police did not cite him.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
- Group urges Port Authority of Allegheny County to fund more transit routes
- Forbes Road Career and Technology Center students restore vehicle that will be donated
- Renovation planned for blighted homes in Garfield
- Shooting of Pittsburgh cab driver spotlights risks of profession
- Newsmaker: David A. Harris
- Alpine touring skiing movement faces uphill climb in Western Pa.
- Penn Hills school board unanimously fires former business director
- Pet chiropractic more popular in Western Pa., but doubts linger
- In letter, Plum school superintendent reassures parents on safety
- Carrick crime ‘blitz’ shows early signs of success