PennDOT Announces Public Hearing for Interstate 81 Section 316 Ashley to Arena Project

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will host a Public Hearing and receive public comments in-person, online, and by mail on an Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared for the Interstate 81 (I-81) Section 316 Ashley to Arena project (formerly known as the Partnership 81 project).

The in-person Public Hearing will take place on March 19 from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at the Luzerne County Community College Educational Conference Center, Building 10 – 521 Trailblazer Drive, Nanticoke, PA 18634 (snow date March 26). Registration and an open house display will begin at 4:00 PM and remain open until the end of the hearing. Formal public testimony opportunities will be from 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

Those providing testimony are asked to register in advance by calling (570) 235-2964 or emailing c-ssartori@pa.gov. Registration for testimony will also be available at the hearing. Oral testimony will be limited to five minutes per participant and the number of slots will depend on available time. Individuals may provide testimony privately in a separate hearing room with a stenographer.

In lieu of oral testimony, written comments may be submitted by mail or email to the contact below. All written comments must be received/postmarked by April 12, 2024. Written comments may also be brought to the in-person hearing and deposited in the comment box. The public can access the comment form online at https://bit.ly/I81ashleytoarenaproject.

The project documents can be made available in alternative languages or formats if requested. If you need translation/interpretation services or have special needs or have special concerns that require individual attention, contact Stephen Sartori, PE, Consultant Project Manager, at c-ssartori@pa.gov or (570) 235-2964.

PennDOT and FHWA encourage the public to review and comment on the EA during the 30-day public comment period from March 11 to April 12. The EA is available for review at these locations:

·       PennDOT District 4-0: 55 Keystone Industrial Park, Dunmore, PA 18512

·       Ashley Municipal Bldg.: 49 Cemetery Street, Ashley, PA 18706 

·       Wilkes-Barre Township Municipal Bldg.: 150 Watson Street, Wilkes-Barre Township, PA 18702

·       Hanover Township Municipal Bldg.: 1267 Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

·       Sugar Notch Borough Office: 892 Main Street, Sugar Notch, PA 18706

The EA is also available for review on PennDOT’s website under the Resources section at https://bit.ly/I81ashleytoarenaproject.

All comments will receive equal consideration regardless of the method of submission, whether they are provided verbally in person, in writing, via email, through U.S. mail, or by way of an online comment form.

The public hearing location is accessible to persons with disabilities. Any persons having special needs or requiring special aids are requested to contact Stephen Sartori at (570) 235-2964 or c-ssartori@pa.gov prior to the meeting event in order that special disability needs may be accommodated.

The project is a 7.5-mile reconstruction of I-81 from Hanover Township to Wilkes-Barre Township in Luzerne County between milepost 161.2 north of Nuangola exit and exit 168, Highland Park Boulevard.

The EA, prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act, examines the potential impacts to natural, social, economic, and cultural resources from this project and the alternatives under consideration. It will determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement would be prepared, or a Finding of No Significant Impact would be issued.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following local alerts on X.

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District4.

Information about infrastructure in District 4, including completed work and significant projects, is available at www.penndot.pa.gov/D4Results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

Find PennDOT news on X, Facebook, and Instagram. 

PennDOT and The Shapiro Administration Announce Results of Operation Safe Stop 2023

Today, the Shapiro Administration released the results of Operation Safe Stop, an annual school bus enforcement and education initiative aimed at enhancing school bus safety for students across the Commonwealth. Held on October 18 this year, Operation Safe Stop is a one-day targeted enforcement and education event during which law enforcement agencies and participating school districts document occurrences of drivers violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law and emphasize the importance of school transportation safety. The press conference was hosted by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, West Shore Regional Police, and West Shore School District.

This year’s Operation Safe Stop data revealed that participating school districts and law enforcement agencies reported witnessing 176 violations of the law, (down/up) from the 252 reported last year.

“While we’re certainly glad that violations decreased this year, one incident of passing a school bus is one too many,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kara Templeton. “If we saw this many violations in just one day, it’s clear that safety for our students traveling to and from school needs to be a continued focus for our communities and that motorists remain vigilant while sharing the road with school buses and students.”

The School Bus Stopping Law requires motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, to stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. However, motorists who encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop when lanes of the highway are clearly separated by a divider, such as a concrete barrier or grassy median. “Drivers might consider the steep penalties if convicted of disobeying Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law – a $250 fine, five points on your driving record and a 60-day license suspension. The fine increases to $300 if someone is caught by a stop arm camera,” said Corporal Zeina Black, Permits and Bus Safety Unit Supervisor with the Pennsylvania State Police. “But even worse than these penalties, a tragedy could occur if either a driver or a student is not paying attention to their surroundings.” 

Some safety tips for students to remember while waiting for or loading and unloading the bus include:

  • Get to the school bus stop at least five minutes early, so you won´t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic.
  • Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
  • Never push when getting on or off the school bus.

 “Student safety at school bus stops and in school zones is of the utmost importance and requires the undivided attention of all motorists,” said Department of Education Secretary Khalid N. Mumin. “Local school districts work hard to identify the safest locations possible for school bus stops and to train their staff. But to ensure that students remain safe, we urge all drivers to watch for the flashing lights of school buses and always stop when students are getting on and off.”

PennDOT and Shapiro Administration Honor School Bus Safety Week

Today, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver and Vehicle Services Director of the Bureau of Driver Licensing Dios Arroyo joined the Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania school bus safety advocates to honor nine students for communicating important school bus safety messages through their submissions to this year’s School Bus Safety Poster Contest and to recognize three school bus drivers for their superior driving skills.

The ceremony complemented the Shapiro Administration’s work to support and enhance Pennsylvanians’ safety, including Governor Shapiro proclaiming October 16-20 School Bus Safety Week in Pennsylvania in conjunction with the federal observance. The week recognizes the potential to save young lives by raising awareness of the daily challenges faced by students being transported throughout the commonwealth.

“Students’ return to school has meant the return of school buses to our highways, and the Shapiro Administration is focused on everyone getting home safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “School Bus Safety Week gives us all an opportunity to pause and realize just how much our own actions behind the wheel can affect our most precious asset – our children.”

The students, in kindergarten through eighth grade, were recognized for their winning entries in the 2023 School Bus Safety Poster Contest. The theme for this year’s contest – “Safely Rolling To My Destination” – reminds everyone of the important relationship between students and their school bus drivers, who are responsible stewards of our children as they deliver them safely to and from school and school-related events.

“By using their talent and creativity, these young artists help us share important safety messages through their creations,” said Arroyo. “This year’s entries reinforce the importance of school bus drivers in delivering students to and from school safely and the role they play in students’ well-being every day.”

This year’s winners were chosen from 127 student entries from schools across Pennsylvania. The first-place entries will move on to the national competition, which will be judged at the end of this month.

2023 School Bus Safety Poster Contest Winners include:

Kindergarten – Grade 2

1st Place: Ananyasri Boddupalli, Franklin Elementary School, Sewickley, Allegheny County

2nd Place: Sophia Stroman, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

3rd Place: Lorelei Troutman, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

Grades 3-5

1st Place: Ava Tsao, Marshall Elementary School, Wexford, Butler County

2nd Place: Emina Bernice George Michle, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

3rd Place: Mya Carter, Sugar Valley Charter School, Loganton, Clinton County

Grades 6-8

1st Place: Arjun Kairi, Boyce Middle School, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

2nd Place: Alexionna Kephart, Bald Eagle Area School District, Wingate, Centre County

3rd Place: Musfika Turi, Oak Park Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

There were no qualifying entries submitted this year for the Special Education and Computer Aided categories.

Templeton and Sgt. Michael Pavelko, Division Supervisor for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Division of the Bureau of Patrol for the Pennsylvania State Police, presented certificates and small gifts provided by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association to the students in recognition of their efforts to help communicate this important safety message.

Time was also taken during the ceremonies to recognize the winners of the 2023 Pennsylvania statewide school bus competition, held June 24-25 at Mount Nittany Middle School in State College. The event hosted more than 30 drivers locked in competition to determine the top school bus drivers in the state. The winners in the conventional bus category this year were: First place – Tara Herman with Krise Transportation in Chester County; Second place – Ruth Del Vecchio with Krapf School Bus in Chester County; and Third place – Patricia Carey with Krapf School Bus in Chester County. This year’s competition was the first to be held in three years. There was no competition for the Transit style buses this year.

“Bus drivers do an extraordinary job every day ensuring the safety of our children as they travel to and from school,” said Sgt. Pavelko. “Their continuing dedication to the safe delivery of their precious cargo reinforces the trust parents have in them.”

The ceremony built on safety initiatives across the state. As part of School Bus Safety Week and in a collective effort to enhance students’ safety, local and state law enforcement agencies, school districts and student transportation agencies united for one day last week to raise awareness of the consequences of improperly passing school buses through “Operation Safe Stop,” a safety initiative conducted statewide. Police officers watched for motorists who violated the school bus stopping law. School bus drivers also documented any illegal passes occurring on their routes and will file reports with local police.

State law requires motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, to stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. However, motorists who encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop when a divider, such as concrete barriers or grassy medians, clearly separates lanes of the highway.

In 2022, more than 500 motorists were convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law. One hundred forty-eight law enforcement agencies and 45 school districts combined efforts last year to report violators of the School Bus Stopping Law during Operation Safe Stop. School bus drivers in Pennsylvania traveled over 412 million miles during school year 2021/22, transporting more than 1.4 million students daily.

For more information about school bus safety, visit PennDOT the School Bus Safety page on its highway safety website.

PennDOT Outlines Winter Preparations, Guidance for Public Readiness, and Employment Opportunities

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike CarrollPennsylvania Emergency Management Agency DirectorRandy Padfield, and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Chief Executive Officer Mark Compton today held a media briefing to outline plans for winter services, highlight job opportunities, and discuss how the public can prepare for the season. 

“The safety of every Pennsylvanian is a top priority of the Shapiro Administration. We’ve been preparing for this winter since the last one ended,” Carroll said. “Across Pennsylvania, the team at PennDOT is hard at work fixing our roads, highways and bridges – making it easier and safer for Pennsylvania drivers while creating good paying jobs. Keeping our roads as safe as possible is a team effort, and we’d love to have people join our team.”

The public can access travel information on nearly 40,000 state-maintained roadway miles year-round at www.511PA.com, and during the winter they can find plow-truck locations and details of when state-maintained roadways were last plowed. The information is made possible by PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location technology, which uses units in the over 2,600 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing a truck’s location. 

To help the public prepare for the season and share information about winter services, PennDOT offers operational information and traveler resources on its winter web page. The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts.

Each year, the PTC readies itself to confront the winter elements by properly preparing its entire fleet of trucks, plows and salt spreaders and training more than 425 licensed equipment operators so they are ready to activate 24/7 staffing this fall. Turnpike traffic and weather operations are also at the ready. The team’s focus is to fully understand the conditions on the roadway and to keep the Turnpike system as free of snow and ice as possible.

“Fall has arrived in Pennsylvania, and that means that wintry weather is not far behind,” Compton said. “With winter weather ahead, preparation, planning and coordination are crucial. The agencies here today have spent all year meticulously planning and preparing our crews and resources so that when the first snowflakes fall, we can properly deploy what is needed and where. We also know that your planning ahead for winter driving is critical as well. Take the time now, if you haven’t already done so, to be sure your vehicle is ready by checking your tires, wiper blades, battery and anti-freeze.”

For more information check out the Safety Keys | PA Turnpike.

In discussing traffic safety, Carroll announced that PennDOT is adding 15 variable speed limit, or VSL, signs – which quickly reduce speed limits when visibility or roadway conditions call for lower speeds – bringing the statewide total to 78 locations:

•36 locations along I-80 in Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, and Union counties (mile marker (MM) 97-210); 

•Six locations on I-80 in Clarion and Jefferson counties on the approaches to Emlenton Bridge (MM 42-45), North Fork Bridge (MM 78-81), and Kyle Lake Bridge (MM 92-95); and

•36 locations along I-81 from I-78 to I-80 in Lebanon (five locations), Luzerne (seven locations), and Schuylkill (24 locations) counties. 

VSL signs quickly reduce speed limits when visibility or roadway conditions present the need for more cautious driving. Preliminary results show this solution effectively slowed traffic 4-9 mph during winter road conditions at the 63 locations last winter. Additionally, crashes decreased by an average by 22% on I-80 in Clearfield County last winter when compared to the previous five-year average. Locations were chosen based on crash and weather data, such as frequency of wintry conditions that demand safer driving, and where crashes caused by whiteout conditions led to roadway closures of more than three hours.

While the VSLs are in place, permanent speed limit signs are covered, and the normal posted speed limit is displayed on the VSL unless visibility or winter weather conditions call for slower speeds. When speed limits are reduced, a yellow light at the top and bottom of the VSL will be flashing to ensure motorists are aware of the change.

With more than $197 million budgeted for this winter’s statewide operations, PennDOT deploys about 4,700 on-the-road workers, has more than 700,000 tons of salt on hand across the state and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter. 

PennDOT is actively seeking over 700 temporary equipment operators statewide for the winter season to supplement the department’s full-time staff. Details on minimum requirements, such as possession of a CDL, as well as application information​, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Through the same website, job seekers can apply for nearly100 other non-operator winter positions such as diesel and construction equipment mechanics, welders, clerks and more.

If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 135 crashes resulting in one fatality and 61 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

“Road conditions during inclement winter weather can change very quickly, making it exceptionally important to have a reliable method of receiving timely updates about hazardous weather conditions,” Padfield said. “It’s always a good idea to make sure others know your estimated travel time, and have some basic emergency supplies in your car, like water and a phone charger, along with any specialized items needed for young children or pets.”

Padfield said it’s also important to know the difference between a weather watch and warning: 

• A watch means there is increased risk of a hazardous weather event, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. Pay attention to forecasts and plan out what you will do if/when it occurs. 

• A warning means the weather event is imminent or is happening. Take immediate action to protect lives and property.

In addition, snow squalls can often produce dangerous and deadly travel hazards on otherwise clear winter days. The National Weather Service now issues “Snow Squall Warnings” which alert drivers of whiteout conditions and slippery roadways, so motorists can avoid traveling directly into these dangerous squalls.

Motorists should prepare for potential wintry weather by ensuring they have supplies in their cars before heading out: 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.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. 

511PA is also available through a free smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following local alerts on X.

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts or subscribe to news in a specific county or region. Find PennDOT news on X,Facebook, and Instagram

PennDOT Hosts Public Meeting For The Route 347 Project In Lackawanna County

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invites the public to a Public Meeting with Plans Display regarding the Route 347, Section 253 Culvert Project.

The SR 347 Section 253 project involves improvements to the crossing of SR 347 over Kennedy Creek in Scott Township, Lackawanna County. The project proposes to replace an existing metal arch culvert with a new reinforced concrete box culvert. The existing culvert is experiencing deterioration with scour distress that requires corrective action to sustain a safe crossing at this location.

The new culvert has been designed to match the hydraulic performance of the original culvert and maintain the existing floodplains so as not to adversely affect adjacent property owners. Roadway improvements associated with the project include full-depth reconstruction in the vicinity of the culvert, providing lane and shoulder widths meeting current design criteria. Additionally, new guide rail and pavement markings will be provided throughout the project limits. Only minor utility impacts are anticipated to construct the project.

Public Meeting

The in-person public display meeting for both projects will take place at: 

Time: 7:00 PM

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2023

Location: Scott Township Building (1038 Montdale Road, Scott Township, PA, 18447)

The public comment period is from October 2, 2023 – October 31, 2023. The plans display will be held online and will be available from October 2, 2023, to November 3, 2023. Online information, including detailed project information and comment form, can be found by visiting the following PennDOT District 4-0 website: Route 347, Section 253 Culvert Project (pa.gov).

The purpose of the plans display is to introduce the project, display and describe the planned traffic control, and receive public input regarding questions or concerns with the project.

The project documents can be made available in alternative languages or formats if requested. If you need translation/interpretation services or have special needs or have special concerns that require individual attention, contact Mr. Charles Reuther, PennDOT Project Manager, at creuther@pa.gov.

PennDOT Announces Upcoming Closing for Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that all driver license and photo centers, including its full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, October 7, 2023, through Monday, October 9, 2023, in observance of the Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day holiday. 

Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications, and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services. 

A complete listing of PennDOT driver and photo license center closings in 2023 is available online. If you are planning to visit one of PennDOT’s On-Line Messenger Service Centers, please call ahead for hours of operation during holidays.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

PennDOT Invites Pennsylvanians to Share Feedback on Construction and Maintenance Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is accepting construction and maintenance services feedback through an online survey. The public can take the survey through October 20 by visiting 2023 PennDOT Construction/Maintenance Customer Satisfaction Survey.  

Construction and maintenance work has been underway across the state this year. From January through August, 485 bridges were put out for bid to be repaired, replaced or preserved by PennDOT or industry forces. So far this year 161 state and local bridges were completed, 17 of which went out for bid this year. Additionally, from January through August more than 3,100 roadway miles were improved by department or partner crews. This includes 1,065 miles of paving.

“The PennDOT team and our industry partners work hard to keep people moving and our economy growing,” PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll said. “This survey is one way that we continually look for educational opportunities and areas of success or potential improvement.”

The 24-question survey asks respondents how they receive PennDOT roadway information and how often PennDOT meets or exceeds expectations in construction and maintenance activities. Respondents are also asked about experiences with reporting concerns to the department, and whether or how they use the state’s 511PA traveler information services.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. 

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.pa.gov/news or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.pa.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients   

At a ceremony in Harrisburg today, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll recognized 31 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Ralph Del Rosso and Jeremiah Gonzalofrom PennDOT’s Engineering District 4 which represents Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyomingcountieswere among the honorees. 

“I’m continually impressed by the hard work and dedication of the PennDOT team,” Secretary Carroll said. “These folks work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”  

Carroll and other department executives honored Ralph Del Rosso and Jeremiah Gonzalo during an event held at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.  

“Both Ralph and Jeremiah have truly excelled in their service to the traveling public in northeast Pennsylvania,” said Richard N. Roman, P.E., District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 4, based in Dunmore. “They are both stars within our organization and have developed meaningful relationships with property owners doing business with PennDOT.” 

Ralph Del Rosso 

 Ralph Del Rosso has been employed by PennDOT Engineering District 4 for over 30 years and has been the Right of Way Administrator for over 20 Years.  Ralph’s knowledge of the Department’s policies and procedures stems from years of experience on a multitude of transportation projects. He has a keen eye for detail which has helped him be a successful team leader and manage nearly 100 active jobs.  He has converted all related files digitally allowing his team to easily access documents for projects increasing accessibility and productivity for the Department. Ralph attends public meetings and speaks with legislative contacts to discuss sensitive issues and consistently manages to explain complicated policies and procedures in a clear and concise manner. As Ralph is nearing retirement, he continues to teach his method of plan reviews and to pass on the skills he has utilized over the past 20 years to his successors. 

  

Jeremiah Gonzalo 

Jeremiah Gonzalo’s daily accomplishments continue to highlight the strategic themes of the Department.  As District Permits Manager, Jeremiah is responsible for reviewing and approving all Highway Occupancy Permits for developments occurring in PennDOT Engineering District 4. His quality customer service has developed strong relationships prompted innovative ideas and promoted safety within the District. His promptness in service has ensured that progress is made towards Traffic Information Services and Highway Occupancy Permit approval without delays for submissions on eight major developments proposed in the Hazleton area. These developments are impacting the Route 424 corridor totaling upwards of 28 million square feet of warehouse space and require significant coordination with the District permits units and all the consultants and developers during the process. Jeremiah’s efforts have been recognized by developers who have continuously informed the District of their appreciation, in particular, the assistance provided by Jeremiah in moving the process along. 

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance, and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff, and design and engineering specialists. 

Information about infrastructure in District 4, including completed work and significant projects, is available at www.penndot.pa.gov/D4Results.

Follow local PennDOT news on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.

PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police and Safety Partners Announce Free Car Seat Checks

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project (PA TIPP) are encouraging drivers to take advantage of free car seat checks across the state as the agencies mark National Child Passenger Safety Week (CPSW) from September 17 through September 23. Additionally, Saturday, September 23 has been designated as “National Seat Check Saturday.”

“Seat belts are your best defense in a crash, but they were created for adults,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “It’s important that parents and caregivers take time this week to ensure they are using the right car seat or booster seat for their child’s size and age.”

Car seat checks will be held across the state the week of Child Passenger Safety Week. Visit PA TIPP’s webpage for a list of events.

PSP personnel certified as Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians will be conducting free child seat fitting events across the state. Caregivers can have their car seats checked for suitability, receive instruction on the proper installation, have seat(s) installed, learn to properly harness a child in a seat and check seats for recalls. A full list of local free car seat fitting events is available on PSP’s website.

“Properly installed child safety seats save lives, and it’s vital that Pennsylvania’s youngest passengers are safe when traveling,” said PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris. “We encourage parents and caregivers to have their seats checked by a certified child passenger seat technician to ensure proper installation.”

According to national statistics, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by up to 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers; however,46 percent of car seats and booster seats are installed or used incorrectly. From January through June 2023, PSP members conducted 525 child safety seat inspections and discovered 207 incidents of misuse. PSP completed more than 1,000 checks in both 2021 and 2022 and found misuse rates of up to 40 percent.

To advance their public safety missions, PennDOT and PSP invest in community resources across the state. PennDOT funds resources such as training and educational materials for more than 200 fitting stations across Pennsylvania. In coordination with CPSW and Seat Check Saturday, local police will focus on proper child seat usage during a statewide CIOT Child Passenger Safety enforcement running from September 10 through September 23. In addition, each PSP Troop has designated walk in days where drivers can have their child safety seats checked free of charge year-round.

Pennsylvania’s primary seat belt law requires all occupants younger than 18 to wear a seat belt when riding anywhere in a vehicle. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of four must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.

A secondary law also requires drivers and front-seat passengers 18 or older to buckle up. If motorists are stopped for a traffic violation and are not wearing their seat belt, they can receive a second ticket and second fine.

Because of the potential dangers associated with air bag deployment, children 12 and younger should always ride buckled in a vehicle’s back seat.

“Car seats come in many shapes and sizes. The best way to protect your child is to select the right car seat for their age and size and to use the car seat correctly on every trip,” said PA TIPP Director Angela Osterhuber. “Child passenger safety technicians are available to help parents learn how to keep their children safe and secure in their car seat.”

PA TIPP also offers the following tips:

  • Select a car seat that is right for the child’s age and size.
  • Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you’ll know if it is recalled because of a problem.
  • Read and follow the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for information on correctly installing the car seat in the vehicle.
  • Use the car’s seat belt or the LATCH system when installing the car seat.
  • Make sure the car seat’s harness is correctly adjusted and fits snugly.
  • Use a tether strap when installing a forward-facing car seat, following manufacturer’s instructions.

For more information on how to keep passengers safe, or if you are unable to afford a car seat, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit www.PAKidsTravelSafe.org to find the nearest car seat loan program. Information on Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations and Community Car Seat Checkup Events is also available on the website.

For a list of state police car seat safety inspection locations and dates, visit the PSP Public Safety webpage.

For more information on child passenger safety, visit PennDOT’s Safety Page.

PennDOT Urges Caution in Work Zones

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding motorists to drive safely in work zones after an incident on Newton Road in Scranton, in an active work zone following this weekend’s severe weather event.

The employee suffered injuries requiring medical attention and transportation to a local hospital. “Work zones may be a temporary inconvenience, but these workers all deserve to get home safely,” said PennDOT Engineering District 4 Assistant District Executive of Maintenance, Jonathan Eboli, P.E. “Please slow down and never drive distracted, especially in work zones where employees are working in close proximity to traffic. Additionally, roadway conditions can change every day.”

When approaching a work zone, motorists are reminded they cannot remove cones, and signage or proceed through the work zone. Roads throughout our District have been compromised and may collapse. Roads are closed for the safety of motorists and workers.

Under Title 75, Section 3326, motorists caught by police driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically lose their license for 15 days.

Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones. The law also provides for up to five years of additional jail time for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash that occurred in an active work zone. Posted Work Zones:

All motorists are required to travel with their headlights turned on in all posted work zones, not just active work zones. It is necessary for drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights to turn on their headlights in order to activate their taillights.

Safety Tips

If you encounter our work zones, please keep the following tips in mind for your safety and the safety of highway workers.

  • Drive the posted work zone speed limit.
  • Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers.
  • Turn on your headlights if signs instruct you to do so.
  • Maintain a safe distance around vehicles. Don’t tailgate.
  • Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly.
  • Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road.
  • Always buckle up.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Be patient.
Active Work Zones
Please note: PennDOT manages two distinct programs relating to active work zones:
  • Criminal Violations under 75 Pa. C.S. § 3326 (Duty of driver in construction and maintenance areas or on highway safety corridors) identifies fines and penalties when an officer pulls you over for a violation. 
  • Civil Violations under 75 Pa. C.S. § 3369 (Automated speed enforcement systems in active work zones) began in 2018. Section 3369 allows for a fine to be administered using calibrated and tested automated speed enforcement technology. Civil violations are only fines and don’t reflect any points or insurance ratings.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Subscribe to PennDOT news and traffic alerts in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties at www.penndot.pa.gov/District4.