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Governor Wolf Announces Emergency Proclamation, Travel Restrictions Ahead of Winter Storm

Harrisburg, PA   (March 13, 2017)

Governor Tom Wolf today signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency in
anticipation of a significant winter snowstorm that will impact the state
starting Monday evening through late Tuesday, and announced PennDOT and the

Turnpike will restrict speeds on interstates and some large commercial
vehicular travel. Governor Wolf also announced that PennDOT will
strategically
deploy additional assets to areas expected to be hardest hit by the storm,
including the Northeast, Poconos and Lehigh Valley.

Governor Wolf and state agencies will provide an update on preparations for
the
impending winter storm at 3:30 p.m. today. The briefing will streamed live
at
https://governor.pa.gov/live/ or https://www.facebook.com/governorwolf/.

“State agencies continue to take proactive steps to ensure Pennsylvania is
ready for the incoming winter weather and Pennsylvanians should take their
own
precautions and prepare for adverse conditions, especially for travel,”
Governor Wolf said. “We are preparing for the most significant part of the
storm to hit the Eastern half of the state from Monday night through
Tuesday’s
commute with significant winds to follow and cause additional concerns. I
ask
residents and commercial drivers across the commonwealth to prepare to
avoid
unnecessary travel on roadways during this time – as to let road crews and
emergency responders do their jobs and minimize dangerous travel.”

This proclamation is not a ‘state of emergency,’ as it does not prohibit
vehicular travel on commonwealth roads, but motorists are strongly
encouraged
to delay all unnecessary travel and heed local road closures that may be in

place. A proclamation ensures emergency resources can be procured as needed
and
increases protections for consumers from price-gouging.

Travel Restrictions and PennDOT Resources

To help PennDOT and PA Turnpike crews get the optimum access to the
interstates
and expressways during the storm, beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, these
restrictions will be in place on all interstates and expressways east of
Interstate 99 and including Interstate 99:

• 45 mph speed limit
• Ban on tandem truck trailers, empty trailers, towed trailers, buses,
recreational vehicles and motorcycles.

These restrictions will be in place on Interstates 70, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83,
84,
283, 176, 180, 476, 380 and all expressways not on the interstate system.
The
Turnpike will have the same restrictions beginning at 10 p.m. Monday from
the
Bedford Interchange east to NJ and on the entire Northeastern extension.
PennDOT is also cancelling all superload permits for movement on Tuesday.

PennDOT has 4,800 equipment operators, more than 2,000 plow trucks, 49 snow

blowers. All of PennDOT’s 11 regions will go on round-the-clock duty
beginning
Monday evening. PennDOT’s goal is to keep roadways passable and interstates
and
expressways take priority over lower volume routes.

PennDOT will also be redeploying assets to eastern Pennsylvania, where the
brunt of the storm is forecast to hit. Three Mobile Equipment Teams will be

dispatched. Each team consists of five plow trucks, 10 equipment operators
and
one supervisor. Teams are being dispatched from PennDOT’s northwestern
Pennsylvania district to the Scranton area, from the Pittsburgh area
district
to Monroe County near Stroudsburg and from southwestern Pennsylvania to the

Lehigh Valley area.

Proclamation of Disaster Emergency Impacts

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources
and
personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of this
emergency situation. The time-consuming bidding and contract procedures, as

well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the
duration of the proclamation.

In addition, the proclamation authorizes the Department of Transportation
to
waive regulations related to drivers of commercial vehicles in order to
ensure
the timely movement of commodities, particularly food and home heating
fuel.

It also provides consumer protections against price gouging by prohibiting
companies from charging a price for consumer goods or services that exceeds
20
percent of the average price that the consumer goods or services were sold
for
in the 7 days preceding the effective date of the Governor’s proclamation.

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