PennDOT Gets Ready for Winter Travel

Nov. 23, 2022
Pennsylvania sees a lot of traffic accidents during winter weather

On Monday, officials from four Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) districts held a combined event to discuss winter preparations and how the Central Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC) assists with situational awareness for the traveling public.

“We utilize the district 2 regional traffic management center for public and situational awareness, the regional traffic management center uses the message boards to impact and inform the public,” Ken Bair, Assistant District Executive Maintenance with District 3 said.

RTMC services include 24/7 monitoring and posting of road and bridge restrictions/closures, managing traffic-related and weather-related incidents, and oversight of the Intelligent Transportation System, which includes traffic cameras, message boards, and Highway Advisory Radio.

“The traffic managing center is kinda the nerve center of PennDOT operations,” Traffic Management Center Operations Supervisor Don Maicki said. “When it gets hectic like that everyone gathers in here and anybody from management, operations, everything gathers here and we kinda just sort out whatever problems that is coming up at that time.”

As part of a signage pilot project, the department has deployed variable speed limit (VSL) signs at 63 locations. 

When visibility or roadway conditions call for lower speeds, the VSLs help to quickly reduce speed limits, displaying the lower speed limit vividly for motorists. When speed limits are reduced, a yellow light at the top and bottom of the VSL will be flashing to further ensure motorists are aware of the change.

“We kinda make a determination based on the criteria that’s being met if the speeds need lowered or not,” Maicki said.

Over $212 million is budgeted for this winter’s statewide operations.

PennDOT deploys about 4,700 on-the-road workers, has more than 636,000 tons of salt on hand across the state, and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter.

PennDOT says the most important thing to do is slow down.