PennDOT gears up for winter driving
As the fall days turn colder and flakes of snow begin littering the air, PennDOT officials are getting equipment and supplies ready for the winter season.
Winter is the busiest season for PennDOT officials, who are responsible for tending to 1,434 miles of roadways in Armstrong County, according to Ken Campbell, PennDOT's assistant Armstrong County manager.
“Regardless of the forecast of winter, in October, for two weeks, we do nothing but get to work on the trucks and get them ready,” Campbell said. “A lot of things have to happen to switch from our summer to winter maintenance programs.”
On Friday, officials conducted inspections of plows, blades, spreaders and brining systems installed on PennDOT's 31 trucks, Campbell said.
Officials knock rust off of the plows and equipment with a wire brush before making any necessary repairs and repainting, Campbell said.
It's not uncommon for equipment to need a lot of work and repairs as a result of being used for an entire season, Campbell said.
“At the end of the winter, the plows look all rusted, since they spent the entire season basically covered in salt,” Campbell said. “But before they go back out for another winter, everything is gone over with a fine-toothed comb by equipment managers from other counties, who are looking for any imperfection they can find.”
PennDOT employs 78 permanent operators in Armstrong County and brings in eight seasonal full-time employees, who cover shifts from 4 a.m. until noon, and noon until 8 p.m., Campbell said.
Usually, if it is snowing heavily, employees work an additional four hours of overtime, per shift, to make sure roads are cleared, he added.
Each truck typically covers a 45-mile route, and if one were to break down, the Armstrong office has two backups available, Campbell said.
“In an extended snowstorm, we might have two or three trucks down at a time,” Campbell said. “So sometimes, other drivers will pick up portions of other routes to get us through.”
Although PennDOT officials are out clearing roads around the clock when the snow falls, the best way for motorists to remain safe while driving in the winter is to slow down, Campbell said.
“Typically, our trucks drive between 25 and 35 mph, clearing the road in front of us and laying material behind us, and it takes time to clear our roads,” Campbell said.
“People need to slow down when it gets bad because there is nothing we can do to keep it from snowing, so the roads are going to get slippery.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Kittanning considers restricting dock access
- Armstrong Concert Band performing Saturday in Ford Cliff
- Kittanning firefighters set to muster up a good time in 125th year
- West Mahoning toddler run over by pickup truck
- Annual Rural Valley festival kicks off Thursday
- Mayflies making Ford City roads slick for drivers
- Late afternoon fire destroys Manor home
- Grand opening of West Kittanning community building will merge past, present