Proclamation of Disaster Emergency means Pa. speed restrictions

- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency in anticipation of the Nor’easter. That includes speed restrictions on the Turnpike and all area highways.

Starting 10pm Monday, there will be a 45mph speed limit on all area interstates and expressways in Pennsylvania – plus, a ban on tandem truck trailers, empty trailers, towed trailers, buses, recreational vehicles and motorcycles.

PennDOT is also canceling all superload permits for movement on Tuesday.

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

Starting Monday evening, all 11 PennDOT regions will go on round-the-clock duty to keep roadways passable. Interstates and expressways take priority over lower volume routes.

PennDOT will strategically deploy additional assets to areas expected to be hardest hit by the storm, including the Northeast, Poconos and Lehigh Valley.

Three Mobile Equipment Teams will be dispatched, each consisting of five plow trucks, 10 equipment operators and one supervisor.

Teams from PennDOT’s southwestern Pennsylvania district are being dispatched to the Lehigh Valley area. The Scranton area and Monroe County will also get extra help.

“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,” Gov. Wolf said. “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.”

The governor stresses the proclamation is not a ‘state of emergency’ because it does not prohibit vehicular travel on commonwealth roads, but drivers are strongly encouraged to delay all unnecessary travel.

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

The proclamation lets state agencies use all available resources and personnel to cope with the magnitude and severity of the emergency situation. Bidding and contract procedures, and other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived during the proclamation.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro also alerted consumers and businesses about potential scams, urging people to report any "suspicious activity" about home repairs, snow plowing, government assistance programs and fraudulent disaster-related fundraising to his office's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Plus, the proclamation lets PennDOT waive regulations related to drivers of commercial vehicles 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 the consumer goods or services were sold for in the seven days before the effective date of the proclamation.

For necessary travel, drivers can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles by clicking here.

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