CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — PennDOT said traffic played a part in why it could not quickly treat the icy roads that led to traffic jams and crashes during the first snow of the season.
Drivers united in their frustration after Wednesday night’s storm, asking questions about what happened to the roads.
Interstate 79, Routes 19 and 228 and Glen Eden Road were all made treacherous by a fast-moving skiff of snow that dropped up to 2 inches in a short time.
“Obviously, with the dropping temperatures and wind conditions, it caused it to glaze rather than build-up,” said Cranberry Township Police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino.
With Glen Eden Road a skating rink, Cranberry Township Police decided to close it.
“If the officers felt that it would be a safety issue, they will close just because we don’t want anybody to get into an accident,” Mascellino said.
PennDOT is responsible for the most heavily traveled roads, which were most impacted by the weather.
Bruce Hartman, assistant highway maintenance manager for PennDOT Butler County, said all the available trucks were on the road when the skiff slammed the area.
“You get that, plus rush-hour traffic, and then we can’t get through the traffic to treat the roads and then the roads start to ice up and then we have accidents,” Hartman said.
“We were ready,” Hartman added. “But when you have these blasts that come off the lake, some can be really heavy. And when you put down 2 inches of snow in an hour, hour and a half, there’s no way we can keep up with mother nature.”
Hartman also said the salt trucks got stuck in the same traffic they were trying to prevent.
“We do our best,” Hartman said. “We get it cleaned up as quickly as we can. But we can’t stay ahead of it, especially if there are accidents and there’s traffic.”
WATCH: KDKA’s John Shumway reports live from Cranberry Township.
In the after-storm assessment, Hartman decided a phone call was needed.
“I actually talked to the Cranberry folks today and established better communications,” Hartman said. “If there is a situation where they can help us out or we can help them out, we’ll do that.”
Hartman is looking for a more cooperative arrangement with Cranberry.
“If we had better communications, maybe their trucks could have helped us out a little better,” Hartman said.