PHIA News Digest – Vol. 61

February 1, 2016

PDSITELOGO2Can Pennsylvania prevent drivers from being stranded on the Pa. Turnpike?
Hundreds of motorists that were trapped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike have been freed after a statewide rescue effort. Which leaves many wondering: Can the state prevent this from ever happening again?

More than 500 vehicles — including those carrying college athletes and teenage parishioners — were stuck on the Pa. Turnpike following crashes and historic snowfall on Saturday. By Sunday afternoon, the 90-mile stretch of road was reopened.

Planes, trains, automobiles: East back in business after blizzard
Airline traffic, public transportation and businesses were returning to normal across the East on Tuesday as the Blizzard of 2016 begrudgingly relinquished its icy grip on the battered region.

About 670 flights had been canceled nationwide as of 9:10 a.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. That number was down significantly from the 1,658 cancellations reported a day earlier and the 3,526 cancellations Sunday. Saturday was the worst day for fliers, with more than 4,500 cancellations across the nation.

Pennsylvania Governor Applauds State For Handling Storm
In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf is showing gratitude for the work of state crews and the Department of Transportation, known as PennDOT.

The state has nearly 40,000 miles of roadway to maintain and this was a difficult task with the massive amounts of snow that fell during the weekend storm. Wolf expressed pride in the work of his state in digging out.

America’s Sudden U-Turn on Highway Fonts
In a notice posted in the Federal Register on Monday, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration announced a small change that has huge implications for the nation. The agency terminated an order it had issued back in 2004 approving the use of a new font in highway signs. Now those signs are going to change. Again.

$97 Million Project Will Build Bridges Over 422, Alleviate Traffic
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has awarded a $97.4 million contract to improve U.S. 422 by building new, wider bridges over the Schuylkill River, they announced in a press release Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Hours of Service Waiver Extends Maximum Driving Time for Motor Carriers Transporting Fuels
Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards has signed an hours of service waiver to extend the maximum driving time to 14 hours for motor carriers engaged in the transportation of fuels.

More 70 mph zones could be around the bend in Pennsylvania
Raising top speed limits apparently had little effect on the safety of Pennsylvania’s highways, say transportation officials, who are thinking of expanding 70 mph zones into other areas of the state.

A 2013 law hiking the gas tax to pay for road repairs also gave the Department of Transportation a green-light to identify highways where speed limits could be notched up to 70 mph.


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