PennDOT Announces Winners of Paint the Plow Contest

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is pleased to announce the District 4 winners of the Paint the Plow safety outreach contest.

North Pocono High School of Lackawanna County won the “Fan Favorite” award, which was determined by online voting through www.penndot.pa.gov. Dunmore High School of Lackawanna County was the honorable mention.

Members of the public were invited to vote for their favorite plow from 13 area high schools that entered this year’s regional contest. Votes were accepted from January 3 to January 10, 2023. North Pocono High School received 928 of votes to win the 2022 “Fan Favorite” honor.

The winner of the “Judges’ Pick” award was Carbondale Area High School of Lackawanna County. Dunmore High School of Lackawanna County was also the honorable mention in the “Judges’ Pick” category, which was determined through judging by PennDOT representatives.

Photos of the plows and winners can be found by visiting the PennDOT District 4 press release online.

During the winter weather season, the blades, as well as those painted by Abington Heights High School, Carbondale Area High School, Delaware Valley High School, Dunmore High School, Hazleton High School, Montrose High School, Mountain View Junior Senior High School, North Pocono High School, Northwest Area High School, Riverside Junior Senior High School, Scranton High School, Susquehanna Community Junior Senior High School and West Scranton High School students, will be used to maintain state-owned roadways in six counties in PennDOT District 4.

Paint the Plow is a collaborative effort between PennDOT and area high schools aimed at promoting winter driving safety and fostering an appreciation for student art programs and creativity. Students are invited to paint a plow blade with an original design based on a provided theme. The 2022 statewide theme is “Put Down the Device in Snow and Ice,” which was chosen to draw attention to the need for motorists to give driving their full attention and eliminate distractions, like cell phones, especially during winter weather events.

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 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.gov/District4.

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

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Ruddy, (570) 963.4044

Online Voting Open in PennDOT District 4

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 4 invites the public to vote on 13 plows decorated by Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike and Susquehanna counties high school students as part of the annual Paint the Plow program.

Paint the Plow is a statewide outreach aimed at promoting winter driving safety and fostering appreciation for high school art programs and student creativity.

Earlier this year, PennDOT invited students to paint plow blades based on the statewide theme “Put Down the Device in Snow and Ice.” The theme was chosen to draw attention to the need for motorists to give driving their full attention and eliminate distractions, like cell phones, especially during winter weather events.

Teens/students from 13 high schools participated.

After a two-year hiatus, members of the public are once again invited to vote for their favorite plow. This year, voting will be done through the PennDOT website at: https://www.penndot.pa.gov/TravelInPA/Winter/PaintThePlow/Pages/District4.aspx. Voters should click on the Paint the Plow icon which will redirect them to a survey site where they can pick their favorite plow.

The plow photo that receives the most votes between today, January 3, 2023 and Tuesday, January 10, 2023 will be deemed the “Fan Favorite.”

Schools and participants are encouraged to share the link to the contest to promote voting. PennDOT will post the pictures on statewide and regional Facebook and Twitter accounts, however, responses on social media will not count toward the voting totals.

During the winter weather season, the blades will be used to maintain area roadways. Along with the “Fan Favorite” award, the blades are also eligible for the “Judges’ Pick” honor that will be determined by PennDOT personnel.

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.gov/District4.

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

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Ruddy, 570.963.4044

PennDOT Provides Winter Driving Advice

With the first significant winter weather event forecasted, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is providing motorists the below winter driving advice to consider if traveling is necessary. 

Winter Driving Advice

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, we provide the following advice to those who need to drive in winter weather.

  • Carry a winter emergency travel kit. (including layers of clothing and blankets)
  • Listen to weather and travel advisories, but if you do not have to travel in bad weather don’t.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Slow down and increase following distance.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts.
  • Beware of roads that may look wet, but are actually frozen, often referred to as ‘black ice’.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and ramps, where ice can often form without warning.
  • Carry a cellphone.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving on snow-covered roads.
  • State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your wipers are on.
  • Use your low beams in particularly bad weather, especially in cases of heavy or blowing snow.
  • Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors, and all vehicle lights before you drive and as often as needed.
  • Remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. State law states that if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes a vehicle or a person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.
  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes.
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line (several trucks plowing side by side).
  • Make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you expect to arrive in case you run into an emergency and need help, someone will know where to look for you.
  • If you do become stranded, it’s better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Run the engine every hour or so, but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Do not drink and drive, and always wear your seat belt.

Snow Squalls

Snow squalls are common and could create white out conditions which could virtually eliminate a driver’s visibility. They can also create treacherous travel conditions for drivers where roadways quickly become snow covered and slick.

Motorists always should be alert during the winter season for sudden squalls which can strike with little or no warning.

If motorists do encounter snow squalls while traveling, PennDOT offers this advice:

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits conditions.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required.
  • Use defroster and wipers.
  • Turn four-way flashers on.
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could cause a chain-reaction collision.
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

While snow is falling, PennDOT will have crews treating roadways around the clock, but the department aims to keep the roads passable rather than completely free of ice and snow. PennDOT will continue to treat roadways through the storm until precipitation stops and roads are clear.

While PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, 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.  

PennDOT Phases in Newly-Designed Driver Licenses, ID Cards

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that, as part of ongoing security enhancements, PennDOT is updating the design and enhancing the security features of its driver license and identification card products.

“The update is an important component of PennDOT’s ongoing work to enhance and protect the integrity of the driver license and identification card issuance process,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.

PennDOT is piloting the new products at the Summerdale Driver License Center in Enola beginning September 12, 2022. All Driver and Photo centers will transition to the new products by mid-November 2022. The new products will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle and will replace existing products. The new products will be phased in during renewal cycles and will replace existing products. Both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

Both standard and REAL ID compliant products will use the new design and security features. REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania, and customers are able to opt into REAL ID. Beginning May 3, 2023, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. More information about REAL ID can be on the REAL ID page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website.

The cards look different and have additional enhanced security features that improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration.

  • Guilloche Security Design, a feature that includes sophisticated techniques to embed a variety of customized security patterning into the credential, using non-commercial software developed specifically for high security documents (banknotes, passports, ID cards, etc);
  • Optically Variable Ghost Portrait and Variable Data with UV, features that change their appearance when the viewing angle of the card changes, which moves them from fully visible to non-visible. The card also includes an ultraviolet (UV) response that fluoresces under UV lighting. The UV response is fixed – visible under UV light regardless of viewing angle;
  • Dynamic Look Through Element (DLTE), a dynamic feature with gold metallic tint that is visible under direct lighting.

PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian today recognized 29 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.  Twoemployeesfrom PennDOT’s District 4 whichrepresents Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyomingcountieswere among the honorees.

“These employees represent the many incredible members of the PennDOT team,” Gramian said. “With a focus on innovation, customer service, mobility and community connections, they work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”

Gramian and other department executives honored winners Summer Koziel and Robert McGavin during an event held at the Governor’s Residence.

“Both Summer and Robert have truly excelled in their service to the travelling public in northeast Pennsylvania.  They are both stars within our organization and work at a very high level everyday” said Richard Roman, District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 4, based in Dunmore.

Summer is a Senior Project Manager in our Design Division’s Liaison Unit.  She manages Consultant Designers in preparing and coordinating design packages to be let by the Department. Summer is currently managing 30 projects, which include many complex interstate projects. 

Summer developed a OneNote “District 4-0 Liaison Project Manager Reference Manual”.  As Ms. Koziel was learning the process through her manager and other Liaison Project Managers, she noted how to handle various District processes and preferences that a Project Manager may not specifically find in any manual. 

Cost savings were realized through internal preparation of the Liaison Project Manager Reference Manual, rather through consultant documentation and subsequent employee training the District saw a one-time savings of $40,000. In addition, cost savings were realized by Ms. Koziel assisting in wetland delineations and providing documentation for permitting as needed, rather than consultant delivery saving $10,000 yearly.

Summer is recognized by her peers as a positive and hardworking employee who can take on any task.  Summer is respected by the numerous consultants she manages and District staff.

Robert “Bobby” McGavin’ s daily accomplishments regularly touch on many of the values and strategic themes of the Department.  As Sign Foreman in Wyoming County, Bobby and his crew always do their jobs with safety and quality in mind.

Over the past two years, Bobby has acted as a Highway Maintenance Coordinator in Wyoming County and has helped the County to achieve reductions in accident and injury rates.  As acting HMC, Bobby strives to provide a quality customer experience.

Bobby is regularly recognized by his peers for his work in improved productivity and customer service saving the District $11,261.25.  From completing a slide repair on SR 2013, to improving drainage on SR 1003 near Lake Carey, Bobby is noticed for his accomplishments, and that of his team.

Wolf Administration Highlights Transportation Benefits of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Pennsylvania Bridges

At Columbia River Park along the Susquehanna River today, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Acting Deputy Secretary Mike Keiser, Acting District 8 Executive Chris Kufro, Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Recreation and Conservation Manager Lori Yeich, and local and regional officials highlighted benefits to Pennsylvania from the passage of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), specifically for Pennsylvania’s bridges.

“The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest federal infrastructure investment in decades, and the largest ever investment for bridges specifically,” said Acting Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Mike Keiser. “PennDOT – along with our partners – are ready to put these dollars to good use in meaningful projects all over the state.”

Pennsylvania is poised to receive an estimated $4 billion in new federal highway and bridge dollars over five years, including an estimated $1.6 billion from a new bridge program established by the BIL.

Pennsylvania has one of the largest state-maintained highway and bridge networks in the nation, with nearly 40,000 miles of roadway and over 25,400 bridges maintained by PennDOT. That number grows to approximately 120,000 miles of roadway and 32,000 bridges when considering the state and local networks.

Today’s event was held in the shadow of the historic Veterans Memorial Bridge, which carries Route 462 and BicyclePA Route S over the Susquehanna River between Columbia, Lancaster County, and Wrightsville, York County. The bridge was originally built in 1930, and is slated for significant rehabilitation in 2023. Additionally, there are parks on both the Columbia and Wrightsville sides of the bridge, and multimodal connections and improvements are also planned in coordination with DCNR and local partners.

“One of the many benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the impact it will have on multimodal projects that connect people to parks and trails, as this rehabilitation project demonstrates,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “We have seen millions of people turn to the outdoors during the pandemic, which is why we are pleased to see federal investments in projects that will help retain those new users.”

In addition to the new highway and bridge funds, Pennsylvanians will benefit from new federal funds to support public transportation, airports, and freight and passenger rail. PennDOT and local governments can look forward to new and expanded competitive grant opportunities across all transportation modes. Additionally, new federal funds will be available to Pennsylvania to support the expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

For additional information about PennDOT’s work to keep Pennsylvanians connected to opportunity and each other, visit PennDOT’s website. Follow PennDOT on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.

PennDOT Driver License, Photo Centers Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that all driver license and photo centers, including the Riverfront Office Center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, January 15, through Monday, January 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

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 2022 is available online.

PennDOT Continues Work to Address Bus Driver Shortage

PennDOT Deputy Secretary Kurt Myers and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega today joined the Pennsylvania School Bus Association to encourage interested individuals to obtain Commercial Driver’s License to address bus driver shortage in Pennsylvania.

“We want to do our part to encourage those looking for employment or supplemental income to consider obtaining a school bus endorsement to help get our children to school. That’s the critical part of all of this,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary Myers. “We believe these efforts will help to ensure the safe and effective transportation of our commonwealth students.”

To address the shortage, PennDOT mailed a letter from PDE reaching out to approximately 376,000 individuals with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) to help connect interested drivers with school entities. The letter included information for a survey link for individuals who had an interest in exploring employment opportunities. To date, more than 1,300 individuals have expressed an interest in serving as a school bus driver through the survey. Those interested individuals will now be contacted by their local school districts to discuss next steps in licensure.

“We know how challenging this year has been for our schools, communities, and parents; and we know how important it is to form partnerships and pool resources in times of crisis,” said PDE Secretary Ortega. “The Wolf Administration and the Pennsylvania School Bus Association stand committed to supporting our schools as they work to resolve these difficult transportation issues, and we encourage anyone interested in becoming a school bus driver to apply online.”

Additionally, PennDOT has temporarily opened CDL skills testing on Mondays – for four weeks. This began this past Monday, October 18. CDL skills testing takes place at 23 locations throughout Pennsylvania. These additional testing appointments are intended to allow those who are interested increased opportunity to schedule time for a CDL skills test.

Individuals may schedule a CDL skills test by visiting PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, selecting our Schedule a Driver’s Exam under Driver Vehicle Services, or they may call (717) 412-5300.

“The school bus industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, and the Pennsylvania School Bus Association appreciates PennDOT and PDE’s partnership in working through the school bus driver shortage,” said Ryan Dellinger, Executive Director of the PSBA. “Our only goal, at the end of the day, is to ensure that children are able to get to and from school safely on a daily basis.  School bus drivers are a critical part of the education system and are the first and last interaction a child gets during the school day, which can be incredibly important for setting the tone of their day. Now, more than ever though, it is incredibly important that we tell their story and recognize them for what they really are: heroes.

The Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) has been working to address the driver shortage as well, through a multi-faceted Driver Recruitment Campaign, which they have been running since July. This campaign includes a content microsite, YouBehindTheWheel.com, that is designed to educate individuals on the school bus industry, walk them through the process of school bus driver training, and to get them interested in applying.  From there, the interested individual can access SchoolBusHero.com, which is a public job board that will put these people in touch with local PSBA members who have vacancies.  In order to further drive audiences to these websites and raise public awareness of the school bus industry, the PSBA is currently running a digital ad campaign that encompasses Facebook, YouTube, and the general internet.  For more information, please contact the PSBA Office at office@paschoolbus.org or at (717) 975-1951.

PennDOT Receives Concurrence on Transportation Funding Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has finalized its PennDOT Pathways Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study after receiving concurrence from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A PEL Study is a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers several factors, including the environment, community and economic goals.

PennDOT conducted the study to identify possible near-term and long-term solutions to the funding gap our transportation system faces. The PEL Study evaluated the feasibility of various funding options for near- and long-term implementation and established a methodology for evaluating environmental justice effects associated with each.

The study will serve as a guide as PennDOT pursues and implements alternative funding strategies to help support our entire transportation system. The most near-term funding needs are in PennDOT’s highway and bridge programs, but there are significant needs across all transportation modes. The findings of the PEL Study will help guide the implementation of future funding strategies and can be modified as needs evolve.

The PEL Study is designed to bridge the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the planning process for a project or initiative. FHWA provided its concurrence with the study’s findings, which is an important step to advancing the alternative funding initiatives.

A draft of the PennDOT Pathways PEL Study was made available for public review and comment in Spring 2021. PennDOT received 342 comments during the public comment period, which lasted from April 29 – June 1, 2021. These comments are captured in Appendix D of the final PEL Study and will be used to inform decisions moving forward.

The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), which was established by Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order on March 12, 2021, received a briefing on the draft PEL Study. The draft PEL Study was also used as a resource for the Commission’s report on potential options that will reduce Pennsylvania’s reliance on state and federal gas taxes to fund transportation, presented to Governor Wolf on July 30, 2021.

For additional information on transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.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.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at Facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at Instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot.

​​PennDOT Accepting Unsolicited Public-Private Partnership Proposals Until October 31

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Office of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) announced today that it is accepting unsolicited proposals for transportation projects from the private sector through October 31.

The submission period applies to PennDOT-owned projects and infrastructure. During this period, the private sector can submit proposals offering innovative ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including roads, bridges, rail, aviation, and ports. Proposals can also include more efficient models to manage existing transportation-related services and programs.

Unsolicited proposals are being accepted through 11:59 PM on October 31. Instructions on how to submit a project and information on the unsolicited proposal review process can be found on the state’s P3 website, www.P3.pa.gov

PennDOT holds an unsolicited proposal period in April and October each year.

The private sector may also submit applications for non-PennDOT-owned assets directly to the P3 board during this time. Transportation entities outside of the governor’s jurisdiction, such as transit authorities, may establish their own timelines or accept proposals year-round.

The state’s P3 law allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining, and financing transportation-related projects.

As part of the P3 law, the seven-member Public Private Transportation Partnership Board was appointed to examine and approve potential public-private transportation projects. If the board determines a state operation would be more cost-effectively administered by a private company, the company will be authorized to submit a proposal and enter into a contract to either completely or partially take over that operation for a defined period of time.

The next unsolicited proposal acceptance period will occur in April 2022. To learn more about P3 in Pennsylvania, including active projects, visit www.P3.pa.gov.