PennDOT blames bad forecast, high traffic for slow response to first winter storm

Mark Abrams
November 19, 2018 - 12:45 pm
Snow Traffic

KYW Traffic Center


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — PennDOT says a faulty forecast and huge numbers of cars and trucks on the roads last Thursday hampered road crews trying to clear the highways of snow and slush. 

"We were expecting a sizeable storm, but not the storm that we got," PennDOT's Brad Rudolph said.

He concedes everyone was caught off guard. He said road crews were on top of the storm quickly after the first flakes began falling about mid-morning. But that didn't last long because the evening rush began hours earlier than normal.

"Everybody leaving either to pick up a child from school or because businesses closed pretty much hit the road at the same time," he said. "Traffic built, and our trucks can't get around traffic, so they're stuck as well."

Rudolph says PennDOT crews reported many drivers weren't prepared.

"So with all the stopping and starting, with all the traffic, a lot of cars just couldn't do it," he said. "Saw a lot of minor crashes, a lot of disabled vehicles, and just a lot of volume."

Rudolph says crews were able to lay a lot of salt down, "but once that snow started to accumulate on a lot of the higher-volume roads, we were really paralyzed."

He says managers are evaluating the storm response, but he said, "When a forecast is predicted to be small and it becomes big, you know, we have to make adjustments on the fly."