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New color-coded map will keep road-plowing updated



LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO A PennDOT trucks treats a sharp curve covered in wind-driven snow on Route 54 at the Ralpho Township/Mayberry Township line in February 2016. Motorists will have a new tool for tracking snow clearing efforts this winter.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO A PennDOT trucks treats a sharp curve covered in wind-driven snow on Route 54 at the Ralpho Township/Mayberry Township line in February 2016. Motorists will have a new tool for tracking snow clearing efforts this winter.

NORRISTOWN — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced a new online tool available to inform the public of PennDOT operations this winter. He made the announcement in conjunction with a news conference that PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards held  outlining the agency’s plans for winter services, and sharing job opportunities and driver preparation tips.

The public can view a color-coded map of when each of the nearly 40,000 miles of state-maintained roadway was last plowed by visiting the www.511PA.com plow trucks section. The information is the latest enhancement made possible by PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the more than 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing truck locations.

The AVL program, started in 2014, is part of Wolf’s GO-TIME initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration intended to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations and provide the highest quality services.

During the news conference at the PennDOT maintenance facility in Norristown, Montgomery County, Richards noted that PennDOT is actively seeking approximately 480 temporary equipment operators statewide for the winter season to supplement the department’s full-time staff. Details on minimum requirements, such as possession of a CDL, as well as application information, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Through the same website, job seekers can apply for seven other types of non-operator, winter positions such as diesel and construction equipment mechanics, welders, clerks and more.

In discussing PennDOT’s readiness for the season ahead, Richards said that the department has compiled its information about winter services and winter-driving resources for motorists at www.penndot.gov/winter. The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts.

The 40,000 miles for which PennDOT is responsible translates into 96,000 snow-lane miles — enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. A snow-lane is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes, which means a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.

The department maintains roughly the same number of miles maintained by the state in New York, New Jersey and all of the New England states combined.

With $220 million budgeted for this winter’s statewide operations, PennDOT deploys about 4,800 on-the-road workers, has more than 652,000 tons of salt on hand across the state and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter. 

In addition to viewing plow information, motorists can use www.511PA.com to check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles. 511PA is free and available 24 hours a day.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.