Nor’easter causes travel restrictions in several states

December 2, 2019

Tyson Fisher


The Northeast is kicking off December with a lot of snow. A Nor’easter is expected to dump as much as 20 inches of snow, forcing states to implement travel restrictions.

As inclement weather is slamming the Northeast, affected states are taking appropriate measures to ensure safety on the roadways. Commercial vehicle travel restrictions are in place.

Pennsylvania travel restrictions

Effective since 6 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have installed restrictions on certain trucks. Reduced speed limits have been implemented for other vehicles.

Using its new five-phase approach to travel restrictions, PennDOT has placed Level 1 and 2 travel restrictions as of publication time. Those restrictions include the following vehicle types:

  • Unloaded and lightly loaded trucks (one-third of gross vehicle weight rating), passenger vehicles towing trailers, recreational vehicles, buses and motorcycles.
  • Trucks towing loaded tandem trailers.

According to a news release, the ban also will include all double trailers, regardless of whether they are using chains.

The travel ban affects the following highways:

  • Interstate 78 eastbound from state Route 33 to the New Jersey border.
  • Interstate 80 eastbound from Interstate 81 to the New Jersey border.
  • State Route 33 from Interstate 80 to U.S. 22.
  • Interstate 81 north of the junction with Interstate 80 to the New York border.
  • Interstates 84 and 380 in northeast Pennsylvania.

For all vehicles allowed on the interstates, PennDOT limited speeds to 45 mph. All commercial vehicles that are not affected by the travel restrictions must move to the right lane.

On Monday afternoon, PennDOT lifted restrictions at the following locations:

  • Interstate 78 eastbound from Interstate 81 to state Route 33.
  • U.S. 22 from Interstate 78 to the New Jersey border in both directions.
  • State Route 33 from U.S. 22 to Interstate 80.
  • Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, north of the Pocono/Clark Summit exit for Interstate 80.

Interstates 78 and 80 in the westbound direction will remain unrestricted unless conditions worsen.

New Jersey travel restrictions

The New Jersey Department of Transportation implemented its travel restrictions on Sunday, Dec. 1.

According to a news release, NJDOT issued a commercial vehicle travel restriction on portions of Interstate 78, Interstate 80 and Interstate 287. Restrictions are in place for commercial vehicles at the following locations:

  • I-80, both directions from the Pennsylvania state line to exit 43 (I-287).
  • I-78, both directions from the Pennsylvania state line to exit 29 (I-287).
  • I-287, both directions from exit 21 (I-78) to the New York border.

The travel restriction does not apply to the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway or the Atlantic City Expressway. The following vehicle types are affected by the travel restriction:

  • All tractor-trailers.
  • Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks.
  • Passenger vehicles pulling trailers.
  • Recreational vehicles.
  • Motorcycles.

As of 10:30 a.m. local time, the commercial vehicle travel restriction was still in place.

New York declares state of emergency

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster counties. Approximately 300 members of the National Guard will assist with snow removal and clean-up operations, according to a news release.

Reduced speed limits are in effect on state-owned roadways, including a 35 mph speed limit for the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. A 45 mph speed limit has been installed on the following roadways:

  • All state-owned parkways in Hudson Valley.
  • Interstate 81 from Pennsylvania state line to Syracuse.
  • Route 17 from Binghamton to Interstate 84.
  • Interstate 84: Entire length.
  • Interstate 86 from Pennsylvania state line to Binghamton.
  • Entire length of Interstate 99.
  • Interstate 88 from Binghamton to Interstate 90.
  • Interstate 90 from Exit 41 to Exit 24 (Albany).
  • Entire length of Interstate 684.
  • Interstate 87 from Exit 24 to Exit 15 including the Berkshire spur. The speed restriction in place on the NYS Thruway between Exit 29 (Canajoharie) to Exit 15 (NJ I-287) including the Berkshire Spur.

No travel bans are in place as of publication time.

Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts road conditions

In Vermont, the Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has implemented a chain-up requirement on VT Route 9 Woodford-Searsburg. It remains in effect until further notice.

VT-108, also known as “The Notch,” is closed from Barnes Camp Visitor Center in Stowe to the upper parking lot at Smugglers Notch Resort on the Cambridge side.

MaineDOT reduced speed limits on Interstate 295 through the Richmond area to 45 mph. No travel bans were in place as of press time.

Meanwhile in New Hampshire, the state’s Department of Transportation has banned oversize/overweight travel for Monday, Dec. 2. Speed limits have been reduced to 45 mph on Interstate 95.

MassDOT lifted its reduced speed limits and travel restrictions on Interstate 90 Monday afternoon. Motorists should check road conditions before traveling as restrictions may again be installed depending on weather.

Significant snowfall expected

A storm system that brought “heavy snow and strong winds” in central U.S. is now in the Northeast, according to the National Weather Service.

“This is producing a variety of impactful winter weather conditions to begin the work week, ranging from heavy snow over interior portions of the northern Mid-Atlantic and New England, to a wintry mix closer to the Interstate 95 corridor,” the National Weather Service states in its short-range forecast.

Winter storm warnings are in effect from northeast Pennsylvania to southern Maine. Total snowfall can reach 10 to 20 inches in some portions of the affected areas by Tuesday morning. Warning are also in effect from western North Carolina to eastern West Virginia.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm will likely lead to major travel disruptions across affected areas.

The Weather Channel is reporting snow and high winds will likely impact the morning commute in eastern New England on Tuesday. Weather could impact commutes in areas down to the New York City tri-state area on Tuesday morning.

Snowfall will be mostly over by Tuesday night, according to The Weather Channel.

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.