Port Authority: Some Buses See Delays Of Up To An HourBy Meghan Schiller

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In any direction you were traveling during your Friday morning commute, it was a mess.

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It was all due to snow that started falling overnight and continued to fall into the afternoon. While it blanketed the area in a fresh coat of white, it also slowed traffic to a crawl for just about everyone.

Striking at just the wrong time, it made sure no one arrived at work or school on time.

“They’re really icy and really slippy,” said Cheyenne Secola, a passenger.

Commute times were well over an hour or more on many major highways.

“Rush hour timing, our trucks get stuck in the traffic that’s trying to get to work, so that always takes us longer to do our routes. That makes it more challenging, more difficult to get the roads clear,” said PennDOT’s Angelo Pampena.

The Port Authority also saw significant delays. They said on their Twitter page that all bus routes were operating on a 15 to 30 minute delay. Some of them were even seeing delays as significant as 60 minutes. They are asking riders for patience as their drivers navigate the roads.

According to KDKA Traffic Reporter Celina Pompeani, just to get from Pittsburgh International Airport to Downtown Pittsburgh was a 71-minute drive time.

From Interstate 79 to the Veterans Bridge, it was taking well over 40 minutes, and from Monroeville to the Squirrel Hill Tunnel was almost an hour’s drive.

“Traffic has been very busy, very heavy commute this morning,” said Pompeani.

The parkways were also a traffic nightmare for morning commuters.

Heavy traffic was reported along the Parkway North. An accident was reported on the Parkway West inbound at Robinson Town Centre, and another crash on the Parkway East inbound at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

Drivers crawled for miles along Route 28 on Friday morning, and KDKA captured video at the scene of at least three crashes along a three-mile stretch.

Police officers, first responders and tow truck companies kept busy, but drivers did nothing but sit and wait.

“Terrible! They’re terrible,” yelled Constantino Secola, a driver.

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Spraying down the salt, we watched as one PennDOT truck bobbed and weaved through lanes of traffic along Route 28. PennDOT told KDKA that the snow fell at a very inopportune time and that the trucks found themselves also stuck in traffic. The freezing temperatures also limited the effectiveness of the salt.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:


 

There were also heavy slowdowns on Route 19 and Route 51.

PennDOT officials told KDKA’s Meghan Schiller that the snow not only came at an inopportune time, but salt is not nearly as effective in these cold temperatures. They said their salt trucks became stuck in the heavy traffic, impeding their progress in clearing the roads.

“All of our trucks were out, we were treating the roads, it’s just slick conditions and we have to ask our drivers to go a little bit slower when their driving in these types of conditions with the cold weather, the temps being that low, the salt takes a lot longer to take effect with the snow,” said Pampena.

Allegheny County officials say they dispatched 22 salt and plow trucks around 4 a.m. Friday.

In a statement, they say, “We’ve gone over each of our roads twice and are currently going over them a third time. As is typically the case, crews are focusing first on bridges and overpasses, which tend to be slick, and main routes, before moving to secondary routes. We are monitoring the storm & trucks will remain deployed, as needed. Thanks for your patience as we work to keep our roads safe.”

They are urging drivers to be cautious.

In the city of Duquesne, police say they have closed down Center Street due to the treacherous conditions. They say fire and EMS crews have both been notified to use alternate routes when responding to emergencies in that area. Officials say the road will reopen when conditions improve.

Cars formed a snow-covered single-file line along Butler Street in Lawrenceville. In Overbrook, on Pinecastle Avenue, a driver lost control and slammed head-first into a tree. In Oakland, along Fifth Avenue, cars inched bumper to bumper for miles.

Drivers told KDKA they quickly had had enough.

“I’m going home to chill, and I’m staying out of this weather,” said Secola.

In addition, a road closure caused headaches at Carnahan Road. It was shut down from Younger Avenue to Banksville Road due to a crash.

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Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

Meghan Schiller