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Pennsylvania

Eastern Pennsylvania hunkers down for more severe weather

Stephen Huba
| Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 2:09 p.m.
Tom Curtis uses a leaf blower to clear his sidewalk on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 on Wood Street in Tarentum. Weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter this Groundhog Day.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Tom Curtis uses a leaf blower to clear his sidewalk on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 on Wood Street in Tarentum. Weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter this Groundhog Day.

Eastern Pennsylvania is once again in the path of severe winter weather, starting Tuesday night.

Gov. Tom Wolf said state agencies have prepared an “aggressive” plan to reduce disruptions, but he added that postponing any unnecessary travel will help state crews meet their missions.

“This storm may not have the extremely high winds as the one last week, but it will dump significant amounts of snow across a wider area, and that prospect is moving us to take additional aggressive steps to restrict heavier vehicles from the interstates,” Wolf said.

Beginning midnight Tuesday, PennDOT will impose a ban on empty straight trucks, large combination vehicles (tandem trailers and double trailers), tractors hauling empty trailers, trailers pulled by passenger vehicles, motorcycles and recreational vehicles on:

• Interstate 78 from the junction with Interstate 81 in Lebanon County to the New Jersey line.

• I-80 from the junction with Interstate 81 to the New Jersey line.

• I-81 from the Maryland line to the New York State line.

• I-84 from the junction with Interstate 81 to the New York State line.

• I-380 from the junction with Interstate 80 to the junction with Interstate 81.

At the same time, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will prohibit these vehicles from traveling the northeastern extension between the Lehigh Tunnel and Clarks Summit.

Additionally, at 8 a.m. Wednesday, all commercial vehicles will be banned on I-380 and I-84 within Pennsylvania.

Restrictions will remain in place as long as warranted through the storm. As conditions develop, speed restrictions and wider truck and vehicle bans will be considered on these routes.

The heaviest snows are expected to fall during much of the day Wednesday.

In anticipation, PennDOT is moving five plow trucks and two graders along with 18 employees into Pike County to address any issues on I-84, as well as 20 plow trucks and two graders along with 46 employees to address any issues on Interstates 80, 380, and Route 33 in Monroe County and the Lehigh Valley.

The crews are being moved from Western Pennsylvania to assist in the storm response.

Also, two heavy-duty tow trucks are being positioned along I-84 in Pike County and one heavy-duty tow truck in each of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties to deal with any issues on interstates 80 and 81.

“I cannot stress enough the importance for everyone to heed weather forecasts, listen to directions from emergency officials and plan accordingly,” Wolf said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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