PennDOT restricts truck, trailer traffic for ALL drivers on I-81, Turnpike, more roads for blizzard

05 January 2024- Ahead of anticipated snow across most of the state tomorrow into Sunday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are advising motorists to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm. Additionally, the agencies will implement various speed and vehicle restrictions throughout the storm.

PennDOT and PTC crews are actively pre-treating roadways where necessary ahead of the storm to help prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of a storm. However, salt does not resolve all risks, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadway. With freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form.

Restrictions will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website and smartphone apps. Motorists can also sign up for personalized alerts on the website.

The following vehicle restrictions will go into place at 10:00 AM on Saturday, January 6, in accordance with the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • Tier 1:
    • Interstate 99, entire length.
    • I-81 from Maryland to I-78.
    • I-83 entire length. 

The following vehicle restrictions will go into place at 12:00 PM on Saturday, January 6, in accordance with the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • Tier 1:
    • PA Turnpike (I-76) from New Stanton (Exit 75) to Carlisle (Exit 226). 

The following vehicle restrictions will go into place at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 6, in accordance with the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • Tier 1:
    • Pa Turnpike Northeastern Extension (I-476) Lehigh Valley (Exit 56) to Clarks Summit (Exit 130).
    • I-78 entire length.
    • I-81 from I-78 to New York.
    • I-80 from Exit 173 (Lamar) to New Jersey.
    • I-84 entire length.
    • I-180 entire length.
    • I-380 entire length.
    • Route 33 entire length.
    • U.S. 22 from I-78 to New Jersey.

The following vehicle restrictions are anticipated to go into place at 4:00 PM on Saturday, January 6, as conditions warrant and in accordance with the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • Tier 3
    • I-81 from I-80 to New York.
    • I-84 entire length.
    • I-380 entire length.

 Under Tier 1 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways: 

  • Tractors without trailers. 
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers. 
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers.
  • Enclosed unloaded or lightly loaded cargo delivery trucks/box trucks that meet the definition of a CMV. 
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers. 
  • Recreational vehicles/motorhomes.
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches. 
  • Motorcycles.  

On roadways with Tier 3 restrictions in place, no commercial vehicles are permitted EXCEPT loaded single trailers with chains or approved Alternate Traction Devices. Additionally, all school buses, commercial buses, motor coaches, motorcycles, RVs/motorhomes and passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers are not permitted on affected roadways while restrictions are in place.

PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel if possible. If travel is necessary, use caution, reduce speeds and be aware of changing weather conditions. If you are traveling on the PA Turnpike and find yourself in need of assistance, dial *11 on your cell phone. As needed, a staff member of the turnpike’s 24/7 operations center can then dispatch help to your location.