Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow Slows Region

More than 8 inches of snow fell on the Pittsburgh region in the span of about 12 hours and that has transportation officials scrambling. The Port Authority of Allegheny County suspended service around 10:00 Monday night when conditions became unsafe or impassable on nearly every route. PAT spokesperson Jim Ritchie says managers began sending out buses again around 5 am this morning and by 6 am had buses on all but 25 routes. Service to the remaining routes is slowly being restored. Anyone planning to take the bus this morning should head to a main route if it seems like other traffic is having a hard time getting down the street where they normally catch the bus. Ritchie says the T is running well.

Callers to the Port Authority’s service center are experiencing long delays and PAT’s main web page has been crippled. Ritchie says the best way to get information this morning is to go to the Port Authority’s twitter page at twitter.com/pghtransit.

Pittsburgh Public works crews hit the street last night using trucks and salt stationed at eight different locations throughout the city. As of 6:30, Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski says about 90% of the city 800 miles of main road had been treated more than once. He says they are now doing touchup work on the main routes and have shifted focused to the secondary streets. He is asking residents on those streets to be patient. He says it will take 12-24 hours to get to every street in the city. Many of those streets have a layer of ice below the snow. In the meantime, he is asking residents to stay off the secondary streets if possible. He also reminds those who are digging out and brushing off cars parked on the streets, to not put the snow into the travel lanes. He says car owners need to move that snow to the side of the road or place it in front or behind their cars.

State Crews are also fighting the snow. PennDOT Spokesperson Jim Struzzi says they are “In the midst of a big battle here.” Struzzi says most of the interstates are just wet in the main traffic lanes but have various amounts of snow in the passing lanes and on the shoulders. Crews continue to work on the ramps to and from the highways and on the bridges. Work on the Parkway North was hindered last night when people abandon their vehicles. The off ramp to McKnight Road had the most problems after a series of accidents forced the state to close the ramp. Several abandon cars are still on the side of I-279. Struzzi says plows and salt trucks are now turning their attentions to the secondary state maintained roads. He reminds drivers to expect varying conditions as the travel and he says all drivers need to remember to clear off their cars of all snow and ice before starting their commute.

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