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Drifting snow a concern for road crews during 2014's first storm

Published On: Jan 02 2014 10:35:15 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 02 2014 05:46:08 PM CST

Road crews around the region began preparing early for the first snowstorm of 2014.

Road crews around the region began preparing early for the first snowstorm of 2014.

PennDOT began its anti-icing efforts by placing salt brine on state roads and highways early Thursday morning.

Crews also made sure the plows were ready and that trucks were fully loaded with salt for a 'round-the-clock battle against the storm.

Despite all the efforts, however, PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch cautioned drivers that roads will not be free of ice and snow while the precipitation is falling, so the best advice is to stay home.

"If significant precipitation is forecast, people shouldn't travel unless they must. This ensures that everyone stays safe and crews can focus on treating the roads," Schoch said.

The season, Schoch said, has already featured several storms with unexpected bursts of intense snowfall in short periods of time, causing a number of problems on area highways.

Most recent are a pair of multi-vehicle crashes that happened a week ago Thursday on Interstate 78 in northern Berks County and on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Morgantown and Reading interchanges. Forty-four people were injured in the I-78 pileup.

When encountering such rapidly developing conditions, officials said drivers need to slow down and leave plenty of room in front of them to deal with suddenly slippery road surfaces.

PennDOT will have more than 2,250 trucks at its disposal during the storm.