Pennsylvania Turnpike and New Jersey restrict trucks amid snowstorm

December 16, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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The season’s first significant snowfall in the Northeast struck on Wednesday, forcing the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to ban commercial vehicles on certain roadways, as well as New Jersey.

Effective at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Level 3 vehicle restrictions were placed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and certain Pennsylvania roadways as up to 2 feet of snow is expected in the area. Affected roadways include:

  • Northbound and southbound miles of Route 33.
  • Eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 78.
  • Interstate 80 from Interstate 99 to the New Jersey border.
  • Northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 81.
  • Northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 83.
  • Eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 84.
  • Eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 283.
  • Northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 380.
  • Interstate 476 from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 95.
  • Eastbound and westbound miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the Breezewood interchange (Exit 161) to the New Jersey border.
  • Northbound and southbound miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension (Interstate 476) from Interstate 76 to the Clark Summit interchange (Exit 131).

In addition to all commercial vehicles, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PennDOT are also restricting school buses, commercial buses, motor coaches, motorcycles, RVs/motorhomes and passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers. One exception is a single loaded trailer with tire chains. Information about U.S. and Canada chain laws can be found here.

The Level 3 protocol restricts speed limits to 45 mph for all vehicles allowed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and affected roadways. Commercial vehicles not a part of the restrictions must move to the right lane.

Once weather conditions improve, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PennDOT may downgrade restrictions to Level 1. Those restrictions affect the above roadways in addition to:

  • Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 95.
  • Interstate 95 from the Delaware border to the New Jersey border.
  • Eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 676.
  • Northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 295.

Level 1 restrictions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other roadways affect the following vehicles:

  • Tractors without trailers.
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV.
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers, or tank trailers.
  • 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.
  • Motorcycles.

For more information about road conditions, access the online traffic map at PATurnpike.com, dial 511, use the 511PA mobile app or call the Pennsylvania Turnpike customer assistance center at 800-331-3414 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. More than 100 digital messaging signs throughout the turnpike will also inform motorists of any closures and restrictions.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, the state’s Department of Transportation also issued commercial vehicle restrictions on certain roadways.

Effective at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, the restrictions apply to the following roadways:

  • 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-195, from I-295 to NJ Route 138.
  • I-280, from I-80 to I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike).
  • I-287, from NJ Route 440 to the New York State border.
  • I-295, from I-195 to the Scudders Falls Bridge (Pennsylvania border).
  • NJ Route 440, from the Outerbridge Crossing to I-287.

The following vehicles are not allowed on those roadways:

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

Restrictions do not affect the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway or Atlantic City Expressway. Exemptions include public safety vehicles and personnel directly supporting healthcare facilities or critical infrastructure such as providing fuel or food.

Trucks that are already in New Jersey when the travel restrictions go into place should pull off in truck stops to wait out the storm. Truckers are not to park on shoulders.

In addition to variable messaging signs, updates can be found at 511NJ.org or on NJDOT’s Twitter page. LL

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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.