Stranded motorists dug out of snow on Pa. Turnpike

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Pittsburgh that was shut down by a snowstorm, stranding hundreds of motorists, has begun to clear.

In this photo provided by Michael Watkins, traffic is at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bedford, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.   The Duquesne men's basketball team and Temple University's women's gymnastics team are stuck on the Turnpike due to treacherous weather conditions. A mammoth winter storm crawled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, making roads impassable, shutting down mass transit, and bringing Washington and New York City to a standstill. (AP Photo/Michael Watkins via AP)

More than 500 cars, trucks and buses got stuck Friday night. Some buses were carrying the Duquesne University men’s basketball team and the Temple University gymnastics squad.

A turnpike official says no one is expected to spend a second night on the snow-choked highway. Spokeswoman Renee Colburn says front end loaders and members of the National Guard began to dig out cars and trucks Saturday afternoon.

Crews also are removing barriers between the eastbound and westbound lanes and allowing cars to fuel up at a turnpike maintenance shed before getting off the highway.

Traffic on the highway backed up Friday after trucks failed to climb the highway’s snow-covered hills.