OIL CITY, Pa. – The transition from the summer work schedule to the winter maintenance needs is well underway in the northwest region of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
All the counties included in District 1, which encompasses Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren, have started doing preventative maintenance, mounting plows on the dump trucks, prepping other equipment, and stockpiling salt, anti-skid and other materials for the coming winter season.
“Along with ensuring our equipment and supplies are ready, we also prepare our employees for the duties that lay ahead in the coming months,” said Doug Schofield, PennDOT Assistant District Executive – Maintenance. “Whether they are a 25-year veteran of the department or an employee hired through a recent job fair, our drivers will learn their assigned routes by running them before the weather hits.”
Plow routes in District 1 can vary in length from 25 to 70 miles and can take between one and four hours to complete depending on traffic volume, weather conditions, and other factors.
“Our focus at PennDOT remains on providing safe and passable roadways and putting our initial focus on roadways with the highest traffic volumes,” said District 1 Executive Brian McNulty, P.E. “This means that when winter weather hits, our crews will typically concentrate our resources on the interstates followed by the secondary roads then the rural routes. It also means that roads may not be free of snow while precipitation is falling but we will continue to maintain all the state-owned roadways until the storm has passed and they are cleared.”
In District 1, PennDOT maintains 8,422 snow lane miles through the hard work of about 300 operators and 32 mechanics. The department is seeking additional equipment operators, mechanics, welders, and clerks for temporary and full-time positions.
“Our county leadership has plans in place to handle winter as it comes, including shift work starting next month at stockpiles throughout the region. We continue to recruit and hire new employees in an effort to ensure the highest level of service. We invite licensed CDL drivers, mechanics, and others interested in working for the state to apply online at www.employment.pa.gov,” McNulty said.
Motorists should do their part to prepare for potential wintry weather by allowing additional time in their commute and ensuring they have supplies in their vehicles, including food, water, blankets, extra gloves and hats, cell phone charger, hand or foot warmers, windshield brush and scraper, and any specialized items like medications or baby and pet supplies.
For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s winter website.