Frequently Asked Questions


In the coming months, we'll be compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions concerning PENNDOT District 6-0. Have a question? Let us know!

You can report potholes, damaged and missing signs, or other highway and bridge maintenance concerns to 1-800-FIX-ROAD, or you can report the issue electronically through our Customer Care Center link in the upper right corner.



BANNERS, PARADES       top
Q.Our organization would like to hang a banner over a state highway. How do we do this?
A.Banners are permitted to be hung temporarily over state maintained highways (except for limited access highways) upon obtaining written approval from PENNDOT. Requests must be submitted two weeks prior to the event by the municipality where the banner will be hung. The municipality must agree to be fully responsible for installing, maintaining and removing the banner. A standard request form is available from the Traffic Unit.
   
Q.May we close a state highway to have a parade?
A.Processions, assemblages and special activities are permitted on Pennsylvania highways. The application and approval process requires two weeks for state highways, except for limited access roads, which require six weeks. Any vehicle races (bicycles, soap box racers, etc.) must have insurance and a legal agreement on any state highway. Contact the Traffic Studies Engineer.
   

HIGHWAY OCCUPANCY PERMITS      
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Q.How long does it take to review a Highway Occupancy Permit?
A.Depending on the size and complexity of the project, processing time varies from 10 days to 6 weeks.
   
Q.What forms do I need to obtain a Highway Occupancy Permit?
A.M-945A is the basic HOP form. Forms RW-317 and M-950R are also used. Get one on-line here, or pick one up at the Permits Office at any PENNDOT District or County Maintenance Office.
   
Q.Where can I pick up these forms?
A.Get one on-line here (coming soon!), or pick one up at the Permits Office at any PENNDOT District or County Maintenance Office.
   
Q.How much does it cost to get a Highway Occupancy Permit reviewed?
A.Permit costs vary. Please contact the Permit Office in any PENNDOT County Maintenance facility.
   

SAFETY      
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Q.How do I obtain data on accidents at specific locations on the state highway system?
A.Some accident data is available by contacting the District Traffic Safety Coordinator. However, PENNDOT retains some discretion in releasing crash data, due to possible litigation.
  
Q.We believe the route our school children are using to walk to and from school or the school bus stop are hazardous. Is there a way to determine whether or not this route is safe for use by school children?
A.Upon request, PENNDOT will conduct school student walking route evaluations on all Pennsylvania highways, including local roads. The request for this study must be made by the school district, who will then contact the Traffic Studies Engineer to schedule the study.
   

TRAFFIC SIGNS AND SIGNALS      
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Q.How do I get a traffic signal installed?
A.Traffic signals - except ramp meters - and other flashing warning devices on state and locally owned highways in Pennsylvania are paid for and maintained by the municipality in which they are located. Keep in mind, however, that the location in question must meet certain minimum warrants before a signal can be installed. Please contact the appropriate municipal office to further discuss your request.
   
Q.How do I get changes made to the timing of an existing traffic signal?
A.Questions about traffic signal installation, timing or maintenance should be directed to the municipality in which they are located. They, in turn, will contact PENNDOT to conduct a review of the signal timing relative to conditions at that intersection.
   
Q.How can I get a copy of an existing traffic signal permit plan?
A.Make a request to the municipal signals section and state why you need the plan. FAX request to 610-205-6598
   
Q.Our municipality has already applied to PENNDOT for a permit to install a signal. How do I get information on the status of that application?
A.Due to the large number of requests for traffic signal studies and the work required to complete those studies, the approximate processing time for an analysis is three months from receipt of the request.
   
Q.Is information on existing traffic signals available to the general public?
A.Permits, plans and diagrams are available for public review by contacting the appropriate municipality.
  
Q.How do I get a flashing warning sign installed?
A.Flashing beacons, like traffic signals, are the responsibility of the local municipality to place, operate and maintain. These include beacons at intersections, on advanced warning signs and at fire houses. At the request of the municipality, PENNDOT will perform a study to determine if a beacon is warranted. Contact the Municipal Signals Engineer.
  
Q.Who is responsible for signs on state highways.
A.Only official signs approved by the Secretary of Transportation may be used on Pennsylvania highways. On state highways, PENNDOT installs and maintains most signs. However, the local municipality is responsible for installing and maintaining signs for No Parking, No Stopping or No Standing; speed limit signs of less than 35 mph; driveway signs; church signs; school signs; and school bus stop signs. On state highways, written permission from PENNDOT must be obtained by the municipality before erecting any sign except for no parking, stopping or standing signs. Written requests should be addressed to the District Traffic Engineer or District Administrator.
  
Q.How do I get a stop sign installed?
A.Like traffic signals, stop signs are the responsibility of the municipality in which they are located. Again, please contact the city, township or borough of the location in question.
  
Q.Why can't I 'time' the signal cycles at certain intersections.
A.Newer signal systems usually are 'actuated', that is, equipped with loop sensors implanted in the pavement. When those sensors detect the presence of vehicles waiting at the light, they trigger a cycling mechanism in the signal controller. This sends the signal through its green-yellow-red cycle. If there is no side street activity at these intersections, the signal for the main road remains green.
   

SPEED CONTROLS      
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Q.How do I get a speed limit changed?
A.Requests to change the speed limit should be sent to the District TrafFic Engineer or District Administrator. It must state the nature of the request and the specific location. The municipality must also indicate its willingness to purchase, erect and maintain the signs if the posted speed will be 35 mph or less. PENNDOT will erect and maintain speed limit signs over 40 mph.
   
Q.Can a speed bump be installed to slow traffic in our neighborhood?
A.Speed bumps are not permitted on state highways. However, they are permitted on local roads with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less under certain conditions. Contact your municipality with your request.
   
Q.How can I get three or four way stop signs installed at an intersection in our neighborhood?
A.Stop signs are intended to assign right of way at certain intersections, not to control speeding. Multi-way stop intersections are permitted on state highways provided that one or more of the warrants used for determining traffic signal placement are satisfied. However, simply meeting warrants does not compel the installation of three- or four-way stop signs. On state highways, the municipality must request a multi-way study at an intersection by writing to the District Traffic Engineer or District Administrator.
   

TRAFFIC CONDITIONS      
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Q.Where can I find current traffic conditions on any particular roadway?
A.Traffic conditions on major highways in Southeastern Pennsylvania can be found by calling 215-567-5678, or #211 from a cell phone, or on line at www.smartraveler.com. Many area radio stations also report traffic conditions in their broadcast area.
   
Q.Where can I go for traffic counts on state highways?
A.Individuals requesting traffic volume information for business purposes must make the request in writing to the District Traffic Engineer. A nominal fee of $6 per hour will be charged for this service. No fee will be charged to a municipality, who many request this service by telephone. Some traffic counts are available on line from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (www.DVRPC.org).
   
Q.Our roads are becoming increasingly congested. What can PENNDOT do to stem the growth of traffic in our region
A.Unfortunately, PENNDOT can do little to control the development that leads to the ever increasing traffic in our area. Land use planning and the approval of subdivisions, shopping centers and other commercial and industrial construction in Pennsylvania is primarily the responsibility of local municipalities. However, Gov. Tom Ridge, along with many state and federal legislators, recognize the direct and indirect costs of 'sprawl' in the Commonwealth. They have initiated and support a number of Sound Land Use Initiatives that currently are underway in an effort to develop and adopt long range strategies to control 'sprawl' and the traffic it generates.
   

TRUCK RESTRICTIONS      
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Q.Can large trucks be restricted from state highways?
A.Truck restrictions are permitted on state highways only where there are existing weight restrictions on bridges or highways, or in some cases related to highway geometries or crash history. Requests should be made in writing to the District Traffic Engineer or District Administrator, and should include the purpose for restricting trucks and the specific location. If approved, PENNDOT will erect the required signs.
  

CONSTRUCTION      
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Q.Why can't highway contractors work on busy roads during the overnight hours when traffic is lightest?
A. In some cases, our contractors do work on highways during the overnight hours. Some are required to work during these hours, especially on projects on expressways and other high speed, high volume highways. And many have the option to work any schedule they choose. However, working at night on our busy highways is more dangerous for both the workers and drivers. Plus, working at night is more expensive, as the work area is required to be illuminated for reasons of safety and quality control. Finally, finding qualified paving and construction crews for overnight shifts is difficult, and many suppliers of paving and other construction materials do not work during the overnight hours.
  
Q.Sometimes in a construction zone, lanes are closed, but no one appears to be working. Why is this?
A.In cases where the lane restrictions are long term, lanes are closed at the start of the project and remain so until its completion. On some large projects, these work zones are extensive, and crews are moving around within the work area or simply working out of view of motorists. On high speed highways, the work area includes lengthy transition or buffer zone to protect the highway workers. Since the cost to set up and maintain these long term work areas is extremely expensive, it is often far more cost effective to close off the entire project area and complete the project.
  
Q.I read that a certain project is about to begin construction. How can I get a job working on that project?
A.Virtually all large construction on highways and bridges in Pennsylvania is completed by private construction firms who bid on the projects. All employment related to these projects is handled by those contractors. You may contact those firms directly with your request.
  
Q.How do I find out who the contractor is on a certain project?
A.Our Weekly Traffic Restrictions Bulletin contains the names of all general contractors on PENNDOT projects. Successful firms also are usually listed in news releases announcing the project. If you still cannot determine who the contractor is on a specific project, simply contact us.
  

RIGHT OF WAY      
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Q.How is highway location determined?
A.It is PENNDOT's goal to establish the most direct and useable highway facility at the least possible cost to the public. To accomplish this, PENNDOT undertakes intensive studies on several possible routes in order to find the route that will result in the least possible inconvenience or injury to the public and the private landowner.

Statistical data concerning the economy, population needs and traffic volume trends are analyzed for the area under study. Aerial and ground surveys are taken, and consideration is also given to such factors as safety, drainage and soil types. In addition, public meetings are held to discuss the proposed alternate locations.
  
Q.What is highway Right-of-Way?
A.Right-of-Way is the term used to describe "right of passage" over another's land. When the Commonwealth acquires land for Highway Right-of-Way purposes, it is actually obtaining "right of passage" over land on which a public road ultimately will be built. It is a Constitutional right of the Commonwealth to acquire land for public purposes. The term used to describe this right is "Eminent Domain". Eminent Domain states that it is the inherent right of the State to acquire land when it is needed for public use. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will execute this right only when it will benefit the public.
  
Q.How will my rights be protected during property acquisition?
A.According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use without Just Compensation. In this situation, it is your right to receive Just Compensation in exchange for your property. A Fair Market Value will be determined for your property, and you will receive this along with several other benefits as Just Compensation. Pennsylvania's Eminent Domain Legislation is considered the most liberal of its kind in the U.S. Your rights as a property owner are given primary consideration.
  
Q.If my property is to be acquired by the Commonwealth, who will contact me?
A.You will be contacted several times throughout the acquisition process, and your cooperation is necessary to aid the success of the process. Your first contact will usually be a letter informing you that your property will be affected by a highway project. You will also be personally visited by a negotiator, an appraiser, and, if necessary, a relocation advisor. All appointments will be made at your convenience, within reason, of course. It is our desire to make this process run as smoothly as possible.
  
Q.Who determines property value?
A.The value of your property will be determined by qualified staff appraisers of PENNDOT and/or by independent licensed real estate brokers. Local real estate trends and the value of comparable properties will be taken into consideration when determining the Fair Market Value of your property. All appraisals are reviewed by qualified Reviewing Appraisers to assure that you will receive just compensation for your property. For your personal satisfaction, you may obtain an independent appraisal, for which you will be reimbursed. PENNDOT will reimburse you up to $500.00 for any reasonable expense incurred for an appraiser, engineer or attorney to evaluate your claim.
  
Q.What will I be paid for my property?
A.If your entire property is needed for a highway project, you will be offered its current Fair Market Value, determined by the appraisal process, as Just Compensation. If only a portion of your property is needed, you will be offered the difference between the value of the whole property and the value of the part remaining.
  1. In addition to the Fair Market Value for your property, you are also entitled to the following benefits:
  2. All fees incidental to the transfer of your property to the Department;
  3. Any mortgage prepayment penalty you would be required to pay as a result of the acquisition;
  4. A maximum of $500.00 for any reasonable expense incurred for an appraiser, engineer or attorney to evaluate your property;
  5. Should the acquisition cause you to be dislocated from your residence or business, you will also be entitled to Relocation Benefits.

These benefits are further explained in Bulletin #47. A Right-of-Way Representative will also be available to inform you of your eligibility for any other benefits.
  
Q.When will I receive the offer?
A.A Right-of-Way Representative will personally present you with a written offer for your property. PENNDOT operates under a written one-offer policy in order to achieve uniformity throughout the project. Each owner is treated on the same basis, and each claim is settled on its merits rather than on the negotiating ability of the parties. You will be offered the amount determined by the appraisal process. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cannot, by law or by our policy, offer you less than Estimated Just Compensation for your property.

If you do not believe that the appraisal offers "Just Compensation", and if you can provide factual information pertaining to the value or damage of your property, which was not available to the appraisers, PENNDOT officials will gladly review the appraisal.
  
Q.Must I accept PENNDOT's offer?
A.The vast majority of property acquisitions are settled on an amicable basis. Keep in mind, a careful procedure is used to arrive at a Fair Market Value for your property, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation cannot, by law or by our policy, offer you less than Just Compensation for your property.

If, however, an agreement cannot be reached through negotiations, PENNDOT, in order to proceed with the project, will be forced to file a "Condemnation Proceeding" (Declaration of Taking) in the Court of Common Pleas. At the point of condemnation, you will be offered the full amount of the appraised Fair Market Value as Estimated Just Compensation. You may elect to accept the Estimated Just Compensation without jeopardizing your right to contest the amount in court, or you can refuse the payment and it will be deposited in your name with the Prothonotary of the county in which the property is located.

Once a Declaration of Taking has been filed, either you or PENNDOT may petition, within five years, for a Board of Viewers, or the amount paid will be considered payment in full, in accordance with the Statute of Limitations. At a Board of View, the Viewers will consider your testimony, as well as those of the Department of Transportation. An award will be made by the Board of Viewers based on the available information. If either party is still dissatisfied, an appeal may be made to the Court of Common Pleas. Under most circumstances, however, this procedure is not necessary.
  
Q.When will i be paid for my property?
A.For your convenience payments will be processed as quickly as possible. Before you receive payment, however, you are responsible for providing the Commonwealth with a clear and marketable title. Any liens, mortgages'. judgements, taxes or other obligations with regard to your property must be satisfied either prior to or at the time of settlement with the Department.

Once an agreement has been reached, payment can be expected within four to six weeks. No property owner will be required to move until he or she has received payment of Just Compensation or until it has been made available to him. PENNDOT will forward the payments as quickly as possible to aid you with your relocation process.
  

ROAD MAINTENANCE      
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Q.How do I get a pothole fixed on a State Road?
A.To get a pothole fixed on any state road in Pennsylvania call 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623). Be sure to have the following information available: 1) Name of County, 2) Name of Township/Borough, 3) Name of road, 4) closest intersection. Your name and phone number is optional.
  
My Township or Borough has notified me of necessary sidewalk and/or curb replacement or installation. However, I live along a state road. Who do I contact?
By Pennsylvania state law, the local municipality or property owner is responsible for the installation, maintenance or replacement of curbing and sidewalks. Contact the Highway Occupancy Permit Office in the PENNDOT county office to initiate the proper procedures for installing sidewalks and curbs in accordance with state regulations.
  
DRAINAGE
Q.I live on a state highway and the stormwater pipe under my driveway is clogged. Will PENNDOT clear my pipe?
A.PENNDOT can not maintain pipes on private driveways or in the entrance to a private driveway, even if the driveway intersects with a state road. PA Title 67, Chapter 441, defines maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities for driveway owners with respect to drainage and pavement conditions. Property owners are responsible for the cleaning of the driveway pipe. For more detailed information, PENNDOT’s highway occupancy permit regulation manual can be obtained from the local county office.
  
Q.Who is responsible for storm drainage?
A.Pennsylvania highway and bridge laws are complicated and extensive with various interpretations based on case law. PENNDOT’s roads and bridges serve as a flow area for the transmittal of water across its right-of way and can discharge water onto private property through highway cross-pipes. In most cases, PENNDOT is responsible to maintain bridges, cross pipes and open drainage ditches within the legal right-of-way of a state road. PENNDOT can maintain fifty feet up and down a stream that crosses a state road. When damage may result from upstream land use changes and other circumstances, as well as downstream responsibilities, it is more difficult to determine responsibility until a field review and research is accomplished.
  
Q.Will PENNDOT put a pipe through my property to close in an open drainage ditch?
A.No, according to Title 67, Chapter 441, the property owner would be responsible for such improvements in property drainage. PENNDOT’s highway occupancy permit regulation manual, that outlines the responsibilities, can be obtained from the local PENNDOT county office.
  
GENERAL MAINTENANCE
Q.Will PENNDOT cut slopes or vegetation to improve sight distance at my driveway?
A.No, PENNDOT will not cut slopes or vegetation to improve sight distance. According to PA Title 67, Chapter 441, sight distance improvement is the responsibility of the driveway owner. Please refer to PENNDOT’s highway occupancy permit regulation manual, which can be obtained from the local PENNDOT county office.
  
DAMAGE TO VEHICLES
Q.How do I get traffic line paint off my vehicle?
A.As soon as possible, dampen a cloth with denatured alcohol, soak the line paint to be removed and rinse the area with clean water.
  
Q.What do I do if my vehicle was damaged by roadwork?
A.If your vehicle or property has been damaged by work being performed by PENNDOT, contact your local PENNDOT county office for a Department of General Services claim form. If the damage occurred in a construction work zone of a private contractor for PENNDOT, the District Construction Unit, in King of Prussia, should be contacted. The private contractor’s insurance company will be notified of the damage.
  
SIGNS
Q.There are highway signs in my yard where it meets the road. Why are they place there, and can they be moved?
A.Local municipalities and PENNDOT install signs along the right-of-way to guide, warn, and regulate the motoring public. Although your yard may appear to run to the road's edgeIn some cases, local municipalities and PENNDOT may consider relocating signs if they are not installed according to regulations.
  
HANDICAPPED PARKING
Q.How do I get a handicapped parking space in front of my house?
A.Contact your local municipality that has the full authority to study, erect and maintain these specially designated spaces.
  
DEAD ANIMALS
Q.If there is a dead animal on the road, who do I call to have it removed?
A.Large animals, such as deer, bear and elk are the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. PENNDOT has an agreement with the Game Commission to remove large game animals from limited access highways. The Game Commission can be contacted by calling 610-926-1966.
  
ROADSIDE MAINTENANCE
Q.How does PENNDOT manage the vegetation along state highways?
A.PENNDOT employs Integrated Vegetation Management along all State Highways. This Means that a variety of different techniques are used in combination in order to achieve our objectives. We use Integrated Vegetation Management in order to control brush, grass & weeds; to prune & remove hazardous trees; for erosion & sedimentation control and area beautification.
  
Q.Who do I contact for additional information regarding PENNDOT’s Vegetation Management Program?
A.Contact PENNDOT’s District 6’s Roadside Specialist, Kevin Munley, at (610) 205-6741
  
CONSTRUCTION
Q.Why do contractors work while people are coming from or going to work, especially in the summer?
A.Every project is prepared with a Maintenance and Protection of Traffic Plan (M&PT) approved by the District Traffic Engineer and the Assistant District Executive for Construction. The M&PT gives direction to the contractor about when he can work on the roadway, close lanes of traffic, when and where to set up detour traffic, etc. This direction is based on the best analysis of traffic flow, and is sensitive to peak traffic volumes. The primary construction season is from April through October. We try to complete projects during this season, not during peak travelling times in a day, but sometimes an extenuating circumstance intervenes.
  
Q.Why do road projects take so long sometimes?
A.Some projects appear to take long because of the type of work being completed. In PENNDOT District 6, projects are phased to allow them to be constructed without completely closing the roadway to traffic or establishing a detour, whenever possible. Some other direct factors are material availability, utility relocation work required, sub-contractor work requirements and complexity of the structural work involved. Indirect factors are traffic volume, contractors staffing and contractor equipment requirements.
  
PA TURNPIKE       top

Q.I have a question about the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
A.The Turnpike is a separate entity from PENNDOT. If you have questions,
comments or issues about the Turnpike or any of its interchanges, please
contact them at www.paturnpike.com.
  

WINTER SERVICES      
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Q.How does PENNDOT prepare for a major snowstorm?
A. The Department of Transportation current uses a number of devices to track storms, including weather radar, local forecasting by media, and by contact with neighboring Counties. These elements enable PENNDOT to quickly mobilize our employees and equipment to handle approaching storms.
  
Q.I don’t live on a main road. Why does it take so long for PENNDOT to service my road
A.PENNDOT services road on a priority basis according to Maintenance Functional Class (MFC) and traffic volume. State roads, with the highest MFC and the highest amount of traffic, such as interstate and four-lane highways, receive service first, followed by secondary traffic routes, rural roads, etc. During a winter storm, PENNDOT employees, and contractors hired by PENNDOT, work around-the-clock so that all roads receive adequate service in priority order.
  
Q.What does PENNDOT put on roads during a winter storm?
A.Prior to storms, salt brine is sprayed on some roadways, depending on the type of storm that is approaching and the availability of the spraying equipment. During the storm the roads are treated with salt or a salt and anti-skid combination. Anti-skid is a natural or man-made material such as sand, fine stone or a manufacturing by-product. Salt helps to melt the snow or ice and the anti-skid adds to traction. The amount of material on the roadway depends on the type of road, type and duration of storm and the temperature. In extremely cold storms, below 18oF, anti-skid alone may be used. This is due to the large reduction in the speed of the melting action of salts in extreme temperatures. In some storms, at temperatures between 25 and 18oF, salt is coated with magnesium chloride (MgCl) to accelerate the melting process.
  
Q.How does PENNDOT service all the state roads throughout a county effectively?
A.Stockpiles containing winter maintenance materials are located throughout each county. Several trucks, with associated personnel, are assigned to each stockpile to service the roads in that area of the county. PENNDOT also contracts with local municipalities and contracted or rented snow removal equipment vendors. This contracted or rented equipment is also assigned to the various Stockpiles.
  
Q.During a snowstorm, why is only one lane plowed on a multi-lane highway?
A.Generally there is only one truck assigned to each roadway. If only one truck is assigned, the driving lane is plowed first because it has the highest priority during the storm. Whenever possible, tandem plowing (two or more trucks plowing side by side) takes place on multi-lane highways.
  
Q.Why does a truck move so slowly while plowing snow and spreading materials?
A.The driver must adjust his or her vehicle speed according to various conditions such as heavy or wet snow, ice or residential areas. If the truck is traveling too fast, the material will not stay on the roadway. Before you decide to pass a plow truck, however, ask yourself: “Is it really necessary to pass the snowplow and travel at a higher speed on a untreated roadway?” Passing a snowplow can be extremely dangerous. There is never a “safe” time to pass a truck plowing snow.
  
Q.What is a safe distance to follow behind a truck plowing snow?
A.The normal safe following distance between two vehicles (2-second rule) should be doubled during inclement weather. There is an area to the side and rear of all vehicles - a blind spot -where a driver can not see. This area is greater for a truck. For this reason you should stay a minimum of 200 feet behind a truck plowing snow. In addition, following too close to a snowplow increases your chances of your vehicle being hit and damaged by loose material.
  
Q.Why do bridges freeze before road surfaces?
A.This is because the air flowing below the bridge tends to cool the bridge surface faster than the normal road surface. Also, be cautious of shaded road areas that do not receive sunlight and road areas that traditionally experience snow drifting.
  
Q.What is black ice?
A.Black ice is a thin but very slippery layer of transparent ice not always visible on the roadway. It can be created by rain, fog or dew that freezes on the road surface.
  
Q.What does it mean to “pump your brake”?
A.Pumping your brake is applying your brakes gently and eases off when you start to skid. Avoid slamming on your brakes on slippery roads. Hard braking can lock your wheels and cause loss of steering. If you start to skid, turn your wheel into the direction of the skid. If you have Anti-Lock Brakes, pumping your brake is not recommended. Refer to your car manual about how anti-lock brakes differ from standard brakes.

Most important, drive smart! Think ahead! Drive at a reduced speed!
  
Q.Does PENNDOT replace and/or reset mailboxes that are knocked down by snowplows?
A.In all cases, we try to avoid damaging anyone’s property. However, mailboxes are often placed in the state’s legal right-of-way, which means that the Department of Transportation is not liable for damages to them caused by snow removal operations. We suggest property owners ensure their mailbox rest on a firm support so it will be better able to withstand the windrow of snow from the plow. For further information contact your local county office.
  
Q.How can I prepare my vehicle for winter travel?
A.Clean snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors and lights before traveling. Make sure all lights are working and always use your headlights during inclement weather. Keep wiper blades in good condition and keep all fluid levels full. Check tires for tread and proper inflation, and add weight to rear-wheel drive vehicles. Carry emergency equipment in your car such as flares, a shovel, chains, flashlight, jumper cables, sand, a hat, boots and gloves.
  
Q.Are there any “rules” for winter driving?
A.Remember to drive cautiously. Avoid making sudden moves or fast turns. Avoid quick acceleration or hard braking. Avoid passing a truck plowing snow, if possible. Slow and easy is the rule.
  
Q.Why does plowed snow end up on my sidewalk?
A.By legislation, PENNDOT is required to maintain the traveled cartway, defined as the traveled lanes, as its first priority. When limited storage space or shoulder areas allow no alternative, the decision must be made to either plow the highway at the risk of the sidewalk or to do nothing. Based on case law in the Commonwealth Court, PENNDOT may inconvenience the property owner by plowing snow on the sidewalk rather then allowing snow accumulation to become a hazard on the highway. In consideration of our customers, we always recommend that where minimal storage space for plowed snow is an issue, our operators should exercise caution and minimize the impact on sidewalks whenever possible.
  
Q.Plowed snow has blocked my driveway shut. Can't this be avoided?
A.Frequently, PENNDOT plows driveways shut after the property owners have already plowed their driveways. This occurs when driveways are cleared early in the storm prior to our complete snow removal operation. Due to the requirement to plow the travel way in a priority order, then to follow-up with a cleanup and widening operation, the last pass, which will travel close to the driveway entrance, may be well after the snowfall has stopped. Several ways that the impact of the plowing operation can be minimized are to remove snow only after the last pass of the State snowplow. Another method is to clean an area, at least 15 feet, to the right side of your driveway as you are facing it from the roadway. This area will allow a plow blade full of snow to be deposited before is reaches your driveway.
  
Q.What are the dates when it is permissible to have studded snow tires on?
A.Studded snow tires are permissible from November 1 until April 15.
  
Q.In inclement weather, where can people call to ask what the road conditions are?
A.For current Interstate road conditions throughout the State of Pennsylvania, you can call 1-888-783-6783. For information about the PA-Turnpike call 1-800-331-3414. For specific road conditions in the Philadelphia area, you can call Smartraveler at 215-567-5678 or Cell #211. For those with Internet access go to www.smartraveler.com. Many area radio-stations also report traffic conditions in their broadcast area.
  
Q.Will PENNDOT pay for any paint chips, cracked windshields or other damage to my car caused by their spreading of winter materials?
A.Generally, PENNDOT is not liable for damage caused by the application of abrasives for winter services. If a claimant wishes to exercise their right to attempt to gain reimbursement, the Department of General Services claim form is available at PENNDOT county offices.
  
Q.Will PENNDOT repair grass (turf) damage after snow removal activities and clean debris out of my yard?
A.Typically, this damage occurs during very heavy snowfalls requiring the use of loaders and large snow blowers, which do not perform in the same manner as our truck-mounted snowplows. However, the damage is generally confined to the legal right-of way. While it is unsightly, the frequency and severity is proportional to the snow depth. PENNDOT does not repair these turf damages or remove deposited debris within the right-of-way limits on a routine basis. If property owners insist on reimbursement for conditions that occur beyond the legal right-of-way, we will supply the standard Department of General Services claim form, which is available through the PENNDOT county offices.
  
SNOW REMOVAL AT PARK AND RIDE LOTS
BUCKS COUNTY
Q.Who is responsible for the snow removal at the Park and Ride lots in Bucks County?
A.The snow removal responsibility for Cornwell Heights (Bensalem) Park and Ride lot is divided between PENNDOT and SEPTA. The large parking lot, the ramps leading to and from the large parking lot and the outer sidewalks are PENNDOT’s responsibility. Snow removal on the small parking lot, the inner sidewalks and the station is SEPTA’s responsibility. Local Municipalities or SEPTA remove the snow at all other Park and Ride lots in Bucks County.
  
CHESTER COUNTY
Q.Who is responsible for the snow removal at the Park and Ride lots in Chester County?
A.PENNDOT is responsible for snow removal at the following Park and Ride lots in Chester County: US-202 at US-30, US-202 at Rt. 29 (on Matthews Road), US-202 at Paoli Pike and Rt.100 at Rt. 113. Local Municipalities or SEPTA remove the snow at all other Park and Ride lots in Chester County.
  
DELAWARE COUNTY
Q.Who is responsible for the snow removal at the Park and Ride lots in Delaware County?
A.PENNDOT is not responsible for any Park and Ride lots in Delaware County. The owner of any park and ride lot in Delaware County would be responsible to maintain it.
  
MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Q.Who is responsible for the snow removal at the Park and Ride lots in Montgomery County?
A.PENNDOT is responsible for snow removal at the following Park and Ride lots in Montgomery County: I-476 at I-76 and US 422 at Lewis Rd. Local Municipalities or SEPTA remove the snow at all other Park and Ride lots in Montgomery County.
  
PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
Q.Who is responsible for the snow removal at the Park and Ride lots in Philadelphia County?
A.PENNDOT is not responsible for any Park and Ride lots in Philadelphia County.
  
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