'Stay home if you can': Ahead of York County storm, here's how PennDOT is preparing

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Safety first is the priority for the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation. And ahead of Winter Storm Izzy, officials were taking steps to keep roads clear.

So, what can York County residents do? 

For PennDOT's acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula, the answer is simple — stay home.

"Stay home if you can, that really is the best way to allow our crews to go out," Batula said during a Sunday news conference. "Keep the roads clear for those who have to be out."

More:PennDOT restricts travel on I-83 and other highways ahead of Winter Storm Izzy

More:Snow emergencies declared in some parts of York County

Stacey Crooks, AvalancheXpress head mechanic, operates a snowcat while grooming the snow-tubing slope at Heritage Hills Resort Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Grant Huffman, AvalancheXpress golf course superintendent, said the hill is slated to open for tubing Saturday, Jan. 15, at 10 a.m. For more information on snow tubing there, go to https://avalanchexpress.com. Bill Kalina photo

Though experts are only predicting 2 to 4 inches of snow in York County, a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain could also contribute to rough road conditions. 

Ahead of the storm, PennDOT crews had pretreated roadways. 

PennDOT announced restrictions on all interstates south of Interstate 80, including Interstate 83 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday.

York County municipalities have already begun to take measures for snow, including Loganville and North York, which declared emergency declarations through Monday night.

And, even after the storm rolls past York County, Batula said there will still be plenty of work that has to be done.

"Even if a road looks clear, it's important to be mindful of your speed," Batula said. "Our snow plows are moving relatively slow, so you need to make sure you keep those speeds down to avoid the plows."

Despite COVID-related staffing shortages affecting how businesses and organizations operate, Batula said she is confident PennDOT will have the staff necessary to battle this storm.

"Of course, staffing is always a consideration for us," Batula. "It's not like we're going to not address some of those areas. We have been able to shift the staffing to where we need it, and we'll continue to monitor that throughout the storm."

With this particular storm, Batula said what's really helping PennDOT be successful in combating it is the fast-paced nature of its path.

The worst of the storm should be over in 12 hours, she said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.