The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) advises drivers several state roads are closed or restricted in East Central Pennsylvania because of weather issues caused by Hurricane Sandy. Here is the latest list of road closings in PennDOT Engineering District 5, which includes Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties (as of 7:00 p.m.):
Berks County Interstate 78 between Exit 35 (PA 143) and Exit 40 (PA 737) is closed in the westbound direction and lane restricted in the eastbound direction due to a tractor-trailer crash; Monocacy Creek Road at US 422 in Amity Township is closed due to flooding; Mertztown Road between Valley Road and Lehigh County Line in Longswamp Township is closed due to flooding; Bertolet Mill Road between PA 73 in Oley Township and Lobachsville Road in Pike Township id closed due to flooding.
Lehigh County Indian Creek Road at Cedar Crest Boulevard in Upper Milford Township is closed due to flooding; Spring Creek Road at Mill Creek Road in Lower Macungie Township is closed due to flooding; Spring Valley Road between Landis Mill Road and Washington Lane in Upper Saucon Township is closed due to a downed tree and utility; Churchview Road between Vera Cruz Road and Faith Road in Upper Milford Township is closed due to a downed utility.
Northampton County Island Park Road between Berger Road and Park Place in Williams Township is closed due to a downed tree; PA 611between Browns Drive in Williams Township and Cedarville Road in Easton City is closed due to a downed trees and utility.
PennDOT is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel but those who must head out will see speeds reduced to 45 mph on the following highways in District 5: Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County; Interstate 78 in Berks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties; Interstate 176 in Berks County; Interstate 80 in Monroe and Carbon Counties; Interstate 380 in Monroe County; US 22 in Lehigh and Northampton Counties; PA 33 in Northampton and Monroe Counties.
Also, these types of vehicles will be prohibited from traveling on the speed-restricted roadways: Class 9 vehicles (Overweight and over-dimensional trucks); Empty straight trucks; Large Combination Vehicles (tandem trailers and doubles); Tractors hauling empty trailers; Trailers pulled by passenger vehicles; Motorcycles; and Recreational Vehicles, or RVs.Vehicles in these classifications should pull over to a safe area and wait for the restriction to be lifted.
Although PennDOT recommends not traveling during intense storms, motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 5-1-1 or visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras. Regional Twitter pages and personal alerts are also available on the 511PA website.
Travelers who must be on the roadways should be sure that they have an emergency kit packed in their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.
PennDOT also reminds citizens that information such as checklists for emergency kits and templates for emergency plans, as well as other information and volunteer opportunities, is available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun