Inclement weather shuts down highways in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
February 15, 2021
A major winter storm continues to spread heavy snow and significant ice accumulations from the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley to the Northeast, prompting The National Weather Service to issue winter weather warnings and advisories that impact 150 million Americans.
The Weather Service warns that additional winter weather is expected in the Pacific Northwest Monday, spreading south and east through Tuesday. Frigid Arctic air and dangerously cold wind chills are expected to persist in the Heartland through a good part of the week.
Effective at 6 p.m. on Monday Feb. 15, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will implement Tier 1 restrictions on trucks and other vehicles. The inclement weather restrictions affect the following roadways:
- Interstate 70 from the West Virginia border to the PA Turnpike.
- Interstate 76 (PA Turnpike mainline) in both directions from the Breezewood interchange (Exit 161) to the Ohio border.
- I-79 (entire length).
- Interstate 80 from Interstate 99 to the Ohio border.
- I-86 (entire length).
- I-90 (entire length).
- I-279 (entire length).
- I-376 (entire length).
- I-579 (entire length).
The following vehicle are not allowed on the above roadways until further notice:
- Tractors without trailers.
- Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers.
- Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV.
- Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers.
- Passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers.
- Recreational vehicles/motorhomes.
- School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches not carrying chains or alternate traction devices (ATDs).
For up-to-date travel information, go to 511PA.com.
In New Jersey, the state Department of Transportation announced inclement weather travel restrictions that went into effect at 8 a.m. Monday morning.
Commercial vehicle travel restrictions are in place for the entire length of the following highways:
- I-78, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike).
- I-80, from the Pennsylvania border to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike).
- I-280, from I-80 to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike).
- I-287, from NJ Route 440 to the New York State border.
- NJ Route 440, from the Outerbridge Crossing to I-287.
Vehicles affected by the inclement travel restrictions include all tractor-trailers, empty straight CDL-weighted trucks, passenger vehicles pulling trailers, recreational vehicles and motorcycles. The following roadways and motorists are not affected by the travel restrictions:
- The New Jersey Turnpike.
- The Garden State Parkway.
- The Atlantic City Expressway.
- Public safety vehicles, sworn and civilian public safety personnel; as well as other personnel directly supporting healthcare facilities or critical infrastructure such as providing fuel or food.
More information can be found at 511NJ.org.
As the Arctic chill continues to grapple the Plains, numerous new record lows were established this morning. Many of these locations will experience even lower temperatures by Tuesday morning, with additional record lows expected. pic.twitter.com/w3QifTxQkU
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) February 15, 2021
Extremely frigid temperatures have broken daily records in many parts of the country. Ice and snow fell as far south as Galveston, Texas, with the beach blanketed in snow Monday morning after temperatures reached 21 degrees at 8:30 a.m.
On Feb. 12, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration that affects all 254 counties in Texas. The declaration was in direct response to the severe inclement weather that impacted the state. On Sunday, Texas was approved of a federal emergency declaration.
Although no restrictions are in place, the Texas Department of Transportation is urging motorists to stay off the roads. In the El Paso area, Transmountain is closed at least through Tuesday. TxDOT crews are focusing their attention on Interstate 10, parts of Loop 375 and U.S. 54.
Similar conditions and warnings from state Departments of Transportation are occurring in other parts of the country, including Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri. State transportation departments are encouraging drivers to check conditions before traveling. LL