PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The snow has been falling in the Pittsburgh area since late afternoon, and with the heaviest impact locally from this winter storm expected during the overnight hours, road crews will be out all night, even after a busy Friday evening.
Washington County is getting hit with several inches of snow tonight as well as strong wind gusts. And that made for a long and slow rush hour and a miserable night.READ MORE: 'I'm Not Willing To Go Through This Again:' Woman Diagnosed With Tinnitus After COVID Vaccine
Brake lights could be seen for miles on Interstate 79 between Southpointe and Canonsburg as vehicles moved at a snail’s pace. PennDOT has now ordered the speed limit on Interstates 70 and 79 reduced to 45 miles an hour. But don’t worry, you won’t be able to drive much faster than that anyway.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:
Earlier in the day, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and PennDOT crews all said they were ready for whatever the snowstorm brings.
The salt and plow trucks were prepped early and ready to go, but there are a few things the road crews want you to keep in mind during this first big storm of the season.
Hours before the first flakes flew; crews were out pre-treating the roads Friday, and as the snow continues to fall, the plow drivers have a request.
“Everybody’s got to slow it down, take your time, and everybody gets there safely,” said Bob Newman, a plow driver for Allegheny County.
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
The armada of public works and PennDOT trucks were loaded and ready, anticipating a solid 24 hours of attacking the snow.
“We are going to go with the liquid calcium tonight to enhance the rock salt and prevent a bond from snow and ice building up on the roadway,” said Pittsburgh Operations Chief Guy Costa.
The crews are asking drivers to give them space to work, meaning stay back about 200 feet.
“If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay in your house, watch TV, a movie, bond with your family, read a book, give us the opportunity and the access we need, and the state, the county, and the city to open these streets up and put the material down,” said Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable.
The city is committed to having streets treated within 32 hours after the snow stops.
Meanwhile, Stephen Shanley, the Allegheny County Public Works director, says they hope to have their road cleared by Saturday evening.
And all the crews are ready to move resources south if need be.
“Heavy equipment will be moved to the various facilities where they are needed. A lot of trucks will be moved to another division,” said Shanley.Kenny Pickett Passes Dan Marino For Most Career Touchdowns
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, officials say they are temporarily lowering the speed limit in some areas as a precaution during the storm. Speeds will be reduced to 45 mph on these sections of the Turnpike:
• On the east-west mainline (I-76) from Breezewood Exit #161 to the Delaware River Bridge/New Jersey line
• On the Northeastern Extension from Mid County Exit #20 to Lehigh Valley Exit #56
Turnpike officials also took the step Friday night to put all truck and trailer restrictions in place. Those restrictions include:
• Over-dimensional (height/width/weight) commercial trucks;
• Commercial trucks towing multiple trailers (i.e., doubles or twins);
• Commercial trucks towing empty trailers; and
• Passenger or non-commercial vehicles pulling an RV, utility or any other trailer
The restrictions stretch from the New Stanton Interchange (#75) east to the Delaware River Bridge/New Jersey border, on the entire Mon/Fayette Expressway (PA Turnpike 43) near Pittsburgh and on the Northeastern Extension from Mid County Exit #20 to Lehigh Valley Exit #56.
Click here to check for other traffic advisories on the Turnpike.
Also, if you plan to travel by air this weekend, you can check the status of your flight by visiting the Pittsburgh International Airport website.
Meanwhile, in Fayette County, where they are bracing for a lot more snow then in the city, people were stocking up on supplies earlier in the day.
Spotto’s Hardware, outside of Connellsville, was anything but a calm before the storm. If it had anything to do with snow removal, ice melting or just staying warm, it was moving out the door.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
“The big two things today have been salt and ice melter products and also shovels. We also are selling some sleds too for the kids,” said Sam Spotto.
Charles Hampshire vies along Baldwin Avenue in Connellsville. The street is so treacherous that a sign at the very top warns those who dare venture on it in the winter.
“You just got to a look at it and check it out, and usually if it gets real bad, I’ll just come down the front hill,” Hampshire said.
Hampshire says he’s staying inside till it’s all over, but others don’t have that option because lives may be at stake.
“We are going to have an extended period of time to get from point A to point B. A normal five-minute trip may take us 15 or 20 minutes to get there,” said Rick Adobato, of Fayette County EMS.
And depending on just how much snow falls in the area, ambulances may end up just staying where they are and other modes of transportation will be utilized
“We have used snowmobiles in the past to get to the places we need to go,” Adobato said.MORE NEWS: Fire Breaks Out At St. Vladimir Ukrainian Church In Arnold
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin have both declared states of emergency due to the weekend snowstorm.