Turnpike mulls changes in wake of blizzard backlogs

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is considering increased truck parking along the toll highway and caches of emergency rations for drivers.

The recommendations are among those made after more than 500 drivers were stranded for hours on the grade to the Allegheny tunnels during a January blizzard.

Other recommendations include improved communications with the Pennsylvania National Guard and a stronger social-media presence so drivers can access and share critical information.

Turnpike officials say a series of incidents, coupled with the historic snowfall, shut down the westbound lanes Jan. 22. The Pennsylvania National Guard, state police, and PennDOT worked with Turnpike crews to rescue the stranded drivers on the following day.

Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said backlogs during the storm were exacerbated by tractor-trailers that, despite warning signs restricting trucks to one lane, were stuck in both travel lanes, making it difficult for plows to keep lanes clear.

You can view the entire After Action Review report here.

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