PMTA News

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  • December 01, 2019 10:57 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Harrisburg, PA - With snow anticipated to fall at rates of an inch per hour in northern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are imposing restrictions on certain trucks and other vehicles and limiting speed limits.

    PennDOT is urging motorists to use caution during the event and generally reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions.

    Based on the current forecast, restrictions will begin at 12:01 AM Monday and will remain in place until conditions warrant their removal. The restrictions reflect Level 1 and Level 2 of the commonwealth's draft travel restriction framework (PDF), and will ban all double trailers (regardless of whether they are equipped with chains), empty trailers, non-commercial vehicles pulling trailers, recreational vehicles and motorcycles on these interstates:

    • Interstate 81 north of the junction with Interstate 80 to the New York border.
    • Interstates 84 and 380 in northeast and north-central Pennsylvania.
    • Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, north of the Pocono/White Haven exit for Interstate 80.

    The commonwealth is also considering Level 1 and Level 2 restrictions on Interstate 80 from Interstate 81 to the New Jersey border and Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, north of the Lehigh Valley exit. These additional restrictions will be implemented based on snowfall rate as well as road and travel conditions, and will be communicated via variable message boards and the 511PA traveler information website (www.511pa.com) and smartphone apps.

    Speed limits will be restricted to 45 mph on these interstates for all vehicles while the vehicle restrictions are in place, and commercial vehicles not affected by the bans must move to the right lane. Additional speed restrictions on other interstates could be added depending on changing conditions.

    In response to the anticipated storm, PennDOT has applied anti icing materials to many roads across the state and is activating its statewide command center and regional command centers in areas most affected by the storm.

    To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visitingwww.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the "Check My Route" tool./p>

    511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

    Drivers should also prepare their vehicles by having a trusted mechanic check the cooling system, battery, hoses, drive belts, tires, and wiper blades, as well as all fluid levels, lights, wiper blades and tires often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire-tread depth to perform on ice and snow.

    A vehicle emergency kit should be prepared or restocked containing items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.

    The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) works with county emergency management personnel to monitor unmet local needs during inclement weather affecting travel, utilities, and shelter. PEMA encourages Pennsylvanians to access Ready.pa.govfor free downloadable emergency kit checklists for the home and car.

    Motorists should be aware that all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.

    When winter weather occurs, PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:

    • Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.
    • Be alert since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
    • When a plow truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.
    • Never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a "plow train." The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
    • Never travel next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can't see, and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
    • Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle's wipers are on due to inclement weather.
    • In addition to driving safely around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 440 crashes resulting in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

    PennDOT has created a Winter Safety media center, including social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter driving preparations and operations atwww.penndot.gov in the "Media Center" under the "About Us" footer.

    For more information on safe winter travel, an emergency kit checklist and information on PennDOT's winter operations including a video, visit PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at PennDOT.gov/safety.

    Follow the conversation by using #PAWinter on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and visit the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation.

  • November 04, 2019 12:19 PM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Thank you all for attending the 2019 Fall Safety Day Conference, below are some of our best shots from last week's event.


  • November 01, 2019 10:57 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    The Maryland Motor Truck Association is working with the Maryland State Police to encourage drivers to use extreme caution when traveling on I-68 near Haystack Mountain approaching Cumberland, MD.  In the last month, there have been 4 significant crashes involving tractor trailers.  Through August 2019 there have also been 19 truck fires on the interstate.  The truck speed limit is 45 mph approaching Cumberland and drops to 40 mph when entering the city.  Numerous signs advise drivers of the steep 6% downhill grade.   State Police have inspected over 47,000 trucks at the nearby Finzel weigh station this year and are aggressively monitoring truck speeds to curb the spike in truck incidents.  We urge our members to share this important safety message with as many drivers as possible. 


  • October 29, 2019 9:02 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it has published a new job opportunities website to help 18-20-year-olds who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) find and apply for jobs with interstate trucking companies.   

    “Our country has a shortage of truck drivers. This resource will help military service members translate their training into good-paying jobs safely operating commercial vehicles across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. 

    The website features motor carriers throughout the country who are seeking to hire 18-20-year-old drivers as part of FMCSA’s Under 21 Military Driver Pilot Program, which was announced in June 2019.  Interested service members, reservists, National Guard, active duty, or military veterans who possess the equivalent of a CDL can use the job listing resource to learn more about job opportunities that are available with participating motor carriers.

    The online job opportunities listing page can be found here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/under21militaryjobs

    FMCSA’s pilot program will allow a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate large trucks in interstate commerce.  During the pilot program, which is slated to run for up to three years, the safety records of these drivers will be compared to the records of a control group of drivers to help determine whether age is a critical safety factor.

    “We are excited to offer this resource to help military servicemembers find jobs in the trucking industry. With our country’s economy growing at record pace, we know motor carriers around the country are looking to hire skilled drivers. We encourage servicemembers, National Guard, and reservists to visit this online directory and look for a trucking job today,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen.

    FMCSA’s Under 21 Pilot Program is being launched at a time of sustained job growth for the U.S. economy.  The September U.S. Department of Labor jobs report indicated that the national unemployment rate has fallen to a 50 year low of 3.5 percent. 

    To learn more about the Under 21 Pilot Program and how to apply, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/under21pilot/under-21-pilot-program.

    For complete information on USDOT’s programs to help veterans transition into civilian careers, visit: https://www.transportation.gov/veteranstransportationcareers.


  • October 16, 2019 8:23 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Safety Day will take place Oct. 31, 2019 at the Carlisle Expo Center. The following gentlemen will be giving presentations on the issues that face our industry in the next year and the years to come.

    Dan Horvath is the Vice President of Safety Policy at the American Trucking Associations. Dan came to ATA in March of 2018 as Director of Safety Policy after more than five years as Director of Compliance and Safety at TransForce Inc. In addition to TransForce, Dan has also been a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration auditor, examining new commercial carriers. He spent several years in the operations and safety department at Mlaker Transportation Inc., a Pennsylvania-based motor coach company. In September 2018, Dan was promoted to Vice President of Safety Policy. In this role, he represents ATA and its safety agenda before federal and state government regulators, and various non-governmental organizations. Dan oversees the association’s Safety Policy and Hazardous Materials committees, which formulate the official safety policy agenda on behalf of ATA’s broader membership. Dan, a CDL holder, is a 2017 graduate of the LEAD ATA program, a long-time volunteer at the National Truck Driving Championships, and serves on multiple committees with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. 


    Thomas Bray, Editorial Industry Consultant for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

    As an Industry Consultant in the Transportation Publishing Department, Editorial Resource Area, Tom specializes in motor carrier safety and operations management. He is responsible for developing and updating materials for existing products as well as developing content for new products.

    Before joining the Editorial Resource Area at J. J. Keller in 2005, Tom worked in the trucking industry for 22 years, holding the positions of driver, driver trainer, safety supervisor, lead instructor, claims manager, training director, and safety director. During his employment in the industry he was responsible for DOT compliance, policy development, driver human resources, driver training, training program development, CDL testing, claims management, and accident and injury prevention.

    Tom attended UW-Stevens Point, MidState Technical College, and Fox Valley Technical College. He is active in the Wisconsin Motor Carriers’ Council of Safety Supervisors, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, and the Wisconsin Motor Carriers’ Safety Director Development Committee. Tom is an instructor at MidState Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. and a firefighter and Advanced EMT with the Amherst (WI) Fire District.


    David Yessen joined the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in June of 1990. He has nearly 29 years of experience, the majority which was gained as an employee within the New Jersey Division of FMCSA. He spent his first 15 years as a safety investigator, working a diverse carrier population and nine years as the federal program specialist for the NJ Division and was responsible for oversight of both Federal and State compliance activities. During that time he worked on various workgroups including the Compliance Safety & Accountability (CSA) test, and the Quick Strike Motor Coach Investigation Initiative, serving as an instructor and one of four Mentors for the investigative teams involved in this effort. He later served in helping to develop and instruct the Enhanced Investigative Technique training for Federal Investigators. In 2014 he joined the Office of Enforcement, Compliance Division as a transportation specialist, with a focus on the CSA Program. He has been instrumental in the development and deployment of the Agency’s prioritization system, including necessary IT components, for identifying and investigating high risk carriers. He currently serves as the Division Chief for the Compliance Division and has direct oversight of the CSA, New Entrant, and Drug & Alcohol Programs as well as policy and procedures related to the conducting of compliance investigations and audits.


    Register for the event here: https://www.pmta.org/event-3499814?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=10/16/2019


  • October 07, 2019 10:32 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is alerting motorists to the closure of the I-81 rest areas in Dauphin County while the Department of General Services completes the demolition and rebuild of the facilities over the next year-and-a-half. Motorists will be prohibited from entering the ramps or parking areas of the northbound and southbound facilities until Summer 2021

    The next rest area available for motorists traveling southbound is in Cumberland County at mile marker 38, just south of Carlisle. The next rest area available for motorists traveling northbound is in Luzerne County at mile marker 157, near Nuangola.

    Information on the rest area closures will be posted on PennDOT’s permanent message boards and on signage along I-81. The closure information will also be broadcast on the Highway Advisory Radio System at 1640 on the AM dial.  PennDOT thanks I-81 travelers for their patience during these inconvenient closures. 


  • October 02, 2019 3:52 PM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)


  • September 10, 2019 2:31 PM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)


    The Safety Management Council has decided to move the Annual Safety Day Conference from its date in March to October 31, 2019. 

    The event will take place at the Carlisle Expo Center

    This conference will look forward to the major safety changes that are set for 2020 including the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and Entry Level Driver Training.

    Dan Horvath from the ATA will provide a regulatory update. Tom Bray from JJ Keller is slated to discuss the new HOS proposal. David Yessen from FMCSA will cover the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and a law enforcement roundtable will wrap up the day as they talk about enforcement issues including Data Q and Crash Preventability study.

    The $25 price of admission includes a barbecue lunch.

    Reserve your spot today by clicking here.


  • September 05, 2019 8:18 AM | Brandon Moree (Administrator)

    Continuous, 55-hour closure Sept. 6 - 9 necessary for bridge demolition and replacement.

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission warns of a continuous, 55-hour weekend closure planned between the Lehigh Valley Interchange, Exit 56, and the Mahoning Valley Interchange, Exit 74, on the PA Turnpike’s Northeastern Extension (I-476) from Sept. 6 to 9 for bridge work.

    The roadway will be closed in both directions starting at 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 until 4 a.m. on Sept 9. 

    The lengthy closure is needed for crews to safely demolish the current bridge that carries the Turnpike over State Route 309 in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County at milepost A58.88 while replacing it with a new steel superstructure that will be installed. 

    The construction technique being used, Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC), eliminates the need for months or years of single-lane traffic patterns and other motorist restrictions by closing that part of the roadway for a limited period over a weekend.  

    For 55 hours, the PA Turnpike will implement a detour of I-476 in both directions. State Route 309, located beneath the bridge, will also be closed between Chapmans Road and Snowdrift Road.  Detour routes will be marked for through and local traffic.  Motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible, but if travelling in this region, drivers should pay close attention to the orange and black directional signs.

    SOUTHBOUND DETOUR - LOCAL TRAFFIC:

    Exit at Mahoning Valley Exit #74 and take U.S. Route 209 North to State Route 33 South (21.2 miles). Follow Route 33 South to U.S. Route 22 West (18.4 miles). Follow U.S. 22 West and reenter I-476 South at Lehigh Valley Interchange #56 (15.8 miles).

    SOUTHBOUND DETOUR - THROUGH TRAFFIC:

    Exit at Pocono Exit #95 and take Interstate 80 East to State Route 33 South (25.5 miles).  Follow State Route 33 South to U.S. Route 22 West (23.6 miles). Follow U.S. Route 22 West and reenter I-476 South at Lehigh Valley Interchange Exit #56 (15.8 miles).

    NORTHBOUND TRAFFIC:

    Exit at Lehigh Valley Exit #56 and take U.S. Route 22 East to State Route 33 North (16.5 miles).  Follow State Route 33 North to Interstate 80 West (24.5 miles).  Follow Interstate 80 West and reenter I-476 at Pocono Interchange Exit #95 (25.1 miles).

    STATE ROUTE 309 DETOUR:

    SR 309 will be closed at the Turnpike overpass between Chapmans Road and Snowdrift Road.  Motorists will be directed to Route 22 and Route 100.

    This bridge replacement is part of the accelerated bridge construction (ABC) program, which employs construction methods and materials in a safe, cost-effective way to reduce the time it takes compared to traditional bridge-replacement techniques. With ABC, traffic impacts occur over a single weekend instead of nine to 18 months of intermittent traffic disruptions.

    The new superstructure, which has been under construction since 2018, is being built near the existing bridge.  The 90-foot long bridge opened to traffic on April 1, 1957 and today carries roughly 30,000 vehicles per day, combined north/south.

    Project details and detour maps are available at paturnpike.com/travel/accelerated_bridge_construction.aspx.


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