Altering climate circumstances have public works crews on alert – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – From snow to fluctuating temperatures to an expected switch to freezing rain, these rapidly changing weather conditions are affected by forecasters and road crews.

The roads started out wet earlier this morning but quickly became covered in snow, resulting in treacherous journeys on main and back roads from Allegheny County to Butler County and beyond.

CONNECTED: PennDOT, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co. public works crews preparing for the upcoming winter storm

(Photo credit: KDKA photojournalist Steve Willing)

PennDOT says they are keeping nearly 80 crews out until the storm is over.

PennDOT officials say they have decided to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on all highways as conditions continue to fluctuate.

“We change very quickly from wet with icy conditions to muddy to snow-covered motorways because the belts move pretty quickly. The speed limits are helping us a lot in slowing traffic, ”said Lori Musto, PennDOT District 11 spokeswoman said.

The crews at Allegheny County Public Works have 27 trucks on duty during the remainder of the storm.

“We know the weather will change tonight. It will go from snow to rain and there could be icing conditions, ”said Stephen Shanley, public works director for Allegheny County. “We’re busy with it, so we’re going to salt and treat with calcium chloride. Even in the morning, at rush hour, this could be a problem with ice. “

Allegheny County released a weather update, some of which reads:

“The snow is expected to start again this afternoon and forecasts predict an additional half an inch of accumulation, possibly with a little more to the northwest of the county. The snow is expected to turn into freezing rain before midnight and the freezing rain is expected to continue into morning rush hour. A quarter of an inch to a half of an inch of ice can build up.

WATCH: Andy Sheehan offers an update on Beechview

“During public works, at least 27 salt wagons will continue to drive on county roads and bridges until the storm ends tomorrow. We are monitoring the forecasts and will bring in more drivers if necessary to ensure full coverage of our roads. During the freezing rain, we will put down salt covered with liquid calcium chloride to deal with the possible ice build-up. “

Shanley said he wanted to share that memory too. It is very important to slow down in such conditions and leave enough space between you and the car or plow driver in front of you.

The Red Line T-car was temporarily stuck in Beechview on Broadway Avenue Monday night due to weather conditions. The icy conditions and bad weather have frozen the overhead line.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie says that if it rains freezing cold, overhead lines can freeze and reduce contact between the line and the car.

You can see the ice cream on the line of the T which is stuck on Broadway Ave in Beechview. The port authority says she is stuck because of the weather. @KDKA

– Jessica Guay (@JessicaGuayTV) February 16, 2021

The T began to move, but stopped shortly afterwards. Broadway Ave in Beechview is pretty icy. @KDKA

– Jessica Guay (@JessicaGuayTV) February 16, 2021

CONNECTED: Due to the winter weather, traffic restrictions will be introduced on several main roads

The T could move in Beechview! But a lot of sparks come from the wires. It was stuck because of icy lines. @KDKA

– Jessica Guay (@JessicaGuayTV) February 16, 2021

There could be more rain on tap north of Pittsburgh. The people of Butler County saw a brief sleet, but now it’s raining in the area.

WATCH: Royce Jones got an update on conditions in Butler County

Crews are concerned about the potential for ice coating the roads, electrical lines and tree branches. In the event of a power failure, the district is ready to open thermal protection rooms and provide generators.

Tom Shuler, the city’s director of Butler Public Works, told KDKA, “They have an average of 53 miles of residential streets. I think we have about 38 side streets and alleys. “

In the event that rain washes the product off the streets, the department uses a non-slip compound.

“It’s harder with the salt and it combines. It doesn’t wash off as easily as the salt, ”said Shuler.

Tom Knights, manager of Butler Township, said there were unique challenges when it rains and temperatures drop.

“It’s about time and treatment,” he said. “Prolonged freezing rain events, one of the dangers is the rain – if it does fall it washes away all the salt and the treatment. So the crews have to think again. “

Police told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso that there had been no major car accidents in the area.

WATCH: Jennifer Borrasso has an update on conditions in Butler County

In Westmoreland County, plow truck drivers work hard. Bob Kujawa has been behind the wheel of his plow for more than 20 hours. He works for Barbish Incorporated, working to keep shopping malls and other businesses free of snow and ice.

First Energy says his battle plan is to do what he can overnight and then get started at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning. According to First Energy, more than 1,100 people in the area are without electricity, including more than 700 in Greene County, according to First Energy.

WATCH: Ross Guidotti got an update on conditions in Westmoreland County

MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Winter storm warning indeed as snow, freezing rain, ice is expected for Western Pa

PennDOT also wants to remind drivers to be extra careful on the driveways and downstairs. These are always more difficult than the motorway.

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