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Freezing Temps Result in Travel Restrictions on Northeast, Eastern Interstates

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UPDATE 1/31: There is a travel ban on I-90 for tractor trailers from exit 46 to the PA line due to weather conditions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is advising motorists to closely monitor weather forecasts and conditions as a storm system is anticipated to impact most of the state, with many areas expected to see precipitation during the Tuesday rush hours.

The storm will bring freezing temps, precipitation and snow to the midwest and northeast and is forecast to be followed by a brutal cold front that could bring icy conditions and sudden snow squalls.

Additionally, the FMCSA has expanded its emergency declaration from Jan. 18 to include 22 states in the Midwest and Northeast.

“While many parts of the state may not see significant accumulations, it is critical to always be mindful of conditions and keep safety top of mind when driving in inclement weather,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “Our crews are prepared to take on these conditions, and we call on the public to allow themselves extra time, drive according to conditions, and postpone travel if necessary.”

Due to potential snowfall rates and accumulations, PennDOT and the PA Turnpike are prohibiting empty tractor trailers and commercial vehicles pulling double trailers, RV/motorhomes, and motorcycles on the following Interstates beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, January 29, and tentatively lifting (condition-dependent) at 6 p.m. on the same day:

  • Interstate 380 full length from I-81 to I-80;
  • I-78 full length from I-81 to the New Jersey state line;
  • I-80 from I-180 to the New Jersey state line;
  • I-81 from I-83 to the New York state line;
  • I-84 full length from I-81 to the New York state line; and
  • I-476 (PA Turnpike, Northeast Ext.) from I-78 to Clarks Summit (exit 131).

See a map of vehicle restrictions going into effect tomorrow at www.penndot.gov. This map is also provided below.  Speed restrictions on Interstates and expressways may be implemented as the storm progresses.

To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking 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 860 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool.

Motorists should be aware that all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.

When winter weather occurs, PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:

  • Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.
  • Be alert since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
  • When a plow truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.
  • Never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
  • Never travel next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can’t see, and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
  • Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.

In addition to driving safely around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. 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 440 crashes resulting in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

PennDOT has created a Winter Safety media center, including social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter driving preparations and operations at www.penndot.gov in the “Media Center” under the “About Us” footer.

More States Take Action

22 states are included in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration emergency declaration.

Truck drivers hauling heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, and other fuel products, including gasoline, into the affected states providing necessary relief will be exempt from hours of service regulations through Feb. 2, or until the end of the emergency, whichever is less.

States included in the declaration are: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that tractor trailers and commercial buses will be banned from certain highways in Western New beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 and on portions of the Interstate 81 corridor beginning Wednesday, Jan. 30 at noon as heavy snows and frigid temperatures are expected to impact several parts of the state. Most areas in the path of the storm will see 6 to 8 inches of snow, with the exception of areas that typically experience lake effect snow, including southern Erie County, the Chautauqua Ridge in Western New York, and the Tug Hill Plateau in Northern New York that could see significantly higher amounts of snow through Friday morning.

Beginning at noon Wednesday, tractor trailers and commercial buses will be banned on Interstate 81 in New York from the Canadian Border to State Route 104.

There is a travel ban on I-90 for tractor trailers from exit 46 to the PA line due to weather conditions.

The Indiana Toll Road issued a travel ban from noon today through noon Tuesday. Prohibited are triple tractor-trailers, long-doubles (high-profile only), high-profile oversize permit loads.

Due to Weather, Oklahoma Permit Office Short-Staffed

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Oklahoma’s recent severe weather is still affecting highways, truck driver safety and oversize load permit turnaround.

The state’s DOT permit office has not had any permit staff to process oversize load permits on Thursday, Jan. 3 or Friday, Jan.4. OK state permits will still self-issue if you are traveling on a route with no closures.

After areas of the state received almost 7 inches of snow, oversize and commercial motor vehicle travel was limited due to safety and closures. Oklahoma’s weather map shows closed areas and highway conditions.

Heavy Snowfall & Winter Advisories

The winter storm hit moved in Wednesday night and led into Thursday morning, with another round of snow that fell Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through Friday (1/4) morning for northern Texas, parts of the Texas Panhandle and much of Oklahoma. The region had almost 7 inches (7.5 to 18 centimeters) of snow, along with ice accumulations of up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters). Other parts of Texas and Oklahoma were under winter weather advisories.

Beware of Icy, Slick Roads

The mix of wintry precipitation has created slippery road conditions and limited visibility. In addition to checking state weather maps for road closures, be extremely cautious. State DOT’s recommend reducing speed, staying at least 150 feet behind any snow removal equipment, and warn to stay off certain roads if it can be avoided.

The slickest roadways were reported south and west of Oklahoma City.

WCS Permits Can Help

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! We are keeping up-to-date on when Oklahoma will resume issuing permits, but we do anticipate a delay once the office is full-staffed again.

If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

Illinois Places Weight Restriction on Cairo Bridge US 60/62

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The Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) will place a weight restriction on the Cairo Bridge effective Wednesday, Dec. 27.

The US 60/62 bridge at Cairo that spans across Alexander County, Illinois and Mississippi County, Missouri, and over the Mississippi River. will will be restricting combination vehicles to 37 tons and single unit vehicle to 33 tons.

Repair plans for the bridge are in place, although exact start and finish dates are not available by either the Illinois or Missouri DOT.
The Cairo I-57 Bridge is a steel through arch bridge carrying 4 lanes of Interstate 57 across the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois and located in the tri-state area of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. It was opened in 1978.

WCS Permits Can Help

As always, everyone at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

DOT Office Closures for President George H.W. Bush Funeral

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Several state DOT permit offices will be closed or operating with only a skeleton crew Wednesday, Dec. 5 to honor late President George H.W. Bush on the day of his burial.

Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Texas state DOT permit offices will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Local Baltimore City office will be closed, too.

Plan Ahead

The states that are closed have not published if the closure is a full or half day, so it is best to plan ahead and anticipate those state permit offices will be closed, which means the state will not be processing applications submitted late on Tuesday, Dec, 4 or on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Local Traffic 

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department also published a traffic advisory for the funeral.

It sites local traffic and closures near the U.S. Capitol and the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

The Motorcade Route from the Washington National Cathedral to Joint Base Andrews will also close Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The below closures were included in the Traffic Advisory for President George H.W. Bush’s funeral.

Motorcade Route from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington National Cathedral

  • Motorcade will depart the U.S. Capitol via Delaware Avenue NE
  • Left on Constitution Avenue NW
  • Right on Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Right on 15th Street NW
  • Left on Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Continue on Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Right on 22nd Street NW
  • Left on Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Right on Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • Right into the National Cathedral Complex

On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 the below route between the Washington National Cathedral and Joint Base Andrews will begin closure at 11:00 a.m. and will remain closed until approximately 1:30 p.m.  While this closure is in effect, expect extensive traffic delays and closures of side streets.

Motorcade Route from the Washington National Cathedral to Joint Base Andrews

  • Motorcade will depart the National Cathedral via Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • Left on Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • Left on Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Right on Waterside Drive NW
  • Merge onto Rock Creek Parkway NW
  • Left on Virginia Avenue NW
  • Left on Constitution Avenue NW
  • Right on 17th Street NW
  • Merge on Independence Avenue SW
  • Right on Maine Avenue SW
  • Merge onto I-395 / I-695 / I-295 South
  • Exit Right onto Suitland Parkway
  • Right on Forestville Road
  • Cross Allentown Road
  • Enter Joint Base Andrews via the Maryland Gate

WCS Permits Can Help

WCS Permits & Pilot Cars works closely with the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the New York DOT and will advise customers during this period. The alternative route to help vehicles cross the Niagara River is via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge.

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

I-440 Bridge Construction in Nashville to Impact Traffic, Oversize Travel

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The I-440 rehabilitation project has been underway for some time with intermittent shoulder and lane closures during the day, but the major phase of the project will begin in February 2019 which will significantly impact traffic and restrict oversize load travel.

The improvements are focused at repaving and replacing the road surface, and will take place on I-440 bridge over I-65 with the total contract nearing $150 million. Traffic will be impacted, but TN Department of Transportation (TDOT) ensured construction would not require a full closure.

At this time, TDOT has not released a width, height or weight limit for oversize vehicles, but due to specific lane closures and construction delays are anticipated, which  could get longer with oversize transport.

February 2019

Barrier rail will be installed in late February 2019, which will reduce the number of travel lanes throughout the corridor, allowing work to begin on the concrete surface and the median. The closures are scheduled as follows.

  • Daytime: two lanes of travel open in each direction between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Nighttime: one lane of travel open in each direction between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

The lane reductions will be in place for the duration of the project. No shoulders will be available during the construction. TDOT is working on emergency response and response time for any emergencies.

The project will overhaul I-440 after years of deterioration and a temporary resurfacing earlier this year, and also includes new lighting installations, sound wall construction and laying fiber optic lines. Exit ramps at Murphy Road and Hillsboro Pike will also be improved.

Construction is expected to last until August 2020.

TDOT provided more information on the I-440 project, including a timeline. 

WCS Permits Can Help

WCS Permits & Pilot Cars works closely with the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the New York DOT and will advise customers during this period. The alternative route to help vehicles cross the Niagara River is via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge.

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

 

Nevada Permit Office Closed for Nevada Day

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The state of Nevada’s Commercial Vehicle Permits Office will be closed on Friday, Oct. 26 in observance of Nevada Day. No oversize/overweight permits will be issued on that day and office staff will not be available to answer any permit related questions or to begin processing new applications.

The state office will resume normal business hours Monday, Oct. 29.

No oversize/overweight travel restrictions are listed on Nevada’s holiday oversize travel restrictions page. It is only noted that the permit office will be closed.

Most of the state’s government departments and agencies will be closed to observe Nevada Day, which commemorates states entry into the Union as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Every year Nevada Day is celebrated on the last Friday in October.

In the state’s capital, Carson City, there will be a parade and other family-oriented festivities.

WCS Permits Can Help

WCS Permits & Pilot Cars works closely with the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the New York DOT and will advise customers during this period. The alternative route to help vehicles cross the Niagara River is via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge.

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

 

Peace Bridge OS/OW Construction Restrictions

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Beginning Monday, Oct. 15, the Peace Bridge center lane will be closed to complete the final phase of the Peace Bridge Rehabilitation project and oversize and overweight vehicles will be prohibited from crossing.

The construction is expected to conclude on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, and for the 7 month period, no oversize or overweight vehicles will be allowed on the bridge. That means any vehicles operating under overwidth or overweight permits will not be able to access the bridge in either direction. Vehicles that are 11′ wide or over, 15’6″ tall, over 130,000 pounds or over 60′ long require oversize load permits.

Any vehicles meeting normal Ontario Highway Traffic Act or New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) size and weight limits will not be affected.

The Peace Bridge is an international bridge between Canada and the United States at the east end of Lake Erie at the source of the Niagara River, about 20 kilometers upriver of Niagara Falls. It connects Buffalo, New York, in the United States to Fort Erie, Ontario, in Canada. The bridge is owned and operatred by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, and has been since 1933.

Although the Peace Bridge has been undergoing construction for years, with the upcoming period being the final phase, all three lanes of the bridge were open during the past Summer to accomodate more travelers. At that time, oversize and overweight vehicles were allowed to travel.

The $100 million rehabilitation project will complete once this last phase of construction is over in may.

For More Information

For more information on the upcoming construction, contact the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission online or by phone at 905-354-5641, ext. 4161 or at 716-285-6322, ext. 4161.

WCS Permits Can Help

WCS Permits & Pilot Cars works closely with the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the New York DOT and will advise customers during this period. The alternative route to help vehicles cross the Niagara River is via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge.

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

NC Declares State of Emergency, Limited Extension

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North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper has issued a state of emergency (Executive Order No. 52) and temporary suspension of motor vehicle regulations to ensure restoration of utility services and transporting essentials due to the potential impacts from Hurricane Florence.

The executive order allows for certain size and weight restrictions and penalties to be waived, however does not waive certain oversize load requirements including oversize load banner and oversize load flag requirements.

The state foresees that the potential impacts from Hurricane Florence will require the transportation of vehicles bearing equipment and supplies for utility restoration and debris removal, carrying essentials such as food and medicine, transporting livestock and poultry and feed for livestock and poultry, and transporting poultry and crops ready to be harvested through North Carolina highways.

Specifically pertaining to oversize load transport, the executive order, says the DPS (Department of Public Safety), in conjunction with the DOT (Department of Transportation), shall waive certain size and weight restrictions and penalties arising under N.C. Gen. State. 20-116, 20-118 and 20-119. And the DPS shall temporarily suspend weighing vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested and feed to livestock and poultry in the emergency area.

However, size and weight restrictions and penalties, and oversize load restrictions, have not been waived under the following conditions:

  • When the vehicle weight exceeds the maximum gross weight criteria established by the manufacturer (GVWR) or 90,000 pounds gross weight, whichever is less.
  • When the tandem axle weight exceeds 42,000 pounds and the single axle weight exceeds 22,000 pounds.
  • When a vehicle and vehicle combination exceed twelve (12) feet in width and the total, overall vehicle combination’s length exceeds seventy-five (75) feet from bumper to bumper.
  • Vehicles and vehicle combinations subject to exemptions or permits by authority of this Executive Order shall not be exempt from the requirement having (1) a yellow banner on the front and rear that is seven (7) feet long and eighteen (18) inches wide and bears the legend “Oversize Load” in ten (10) inch black letters 1.5 inches wide and two (2) red flags measuring eighteen (18) inches square on all sides at the widest point of the load. In addition, when operating between sunset and sunrise, a certified escort shall be required for loads exceeding eight (8) feet, six (6) inches in width.

Additionally, oversize load vehicles will be exempt from paying the $50 trip permit fee while the order is in place.

Read the full executive order here.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

 

George Washington Bridge Oversize Restrictions Start July 27

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced an oversize travel restriction for the George Washington Bridge which starts Friday, July 27 and will continue for an extended period.

No vehicles (trucks) in excess of 13′-6″ high, 10’-0” wide or 69′-0″ long can cross the I-95 George Washington Bridge in either direction and will have to use the I-278 Goethals Bridge or the SR 440 outerbridge crossing.

Over-dimensional vehicles can avoid these length & width restrictions, specifically by remaining on I-95 and exiting in the Bronx.

The New York and New Jersey authority did not specify when the restriction will be lifted, and said it will continue for an extended period.

WCS Permits Can Help

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.

MO Permit System to Undergo Maintenance July 27

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The Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) online oversize/overweight permit system, MoDOT Carrier Express, will undergo upgrades from Friday, July 27 through Monday, July 30 in which no agents will be available and no permits will be processed.

The state DOT released a statement stating Motor Carrier services will temporarily and completely suspend the issuance of oversize/overweight permits between 4 p.m. Friday, July 27 and 7:30 a.m. Monday, July 30. Agents will return Monday, July 30 at 7:30 a.m., and at which time maintenance is expected to be completed.

It is recommended that any permits needed for the period of July 27 through August 3, order it before 4 p.m. on Friday, July 27.

Permitted loads that are allowed to operate on weekends will be able to operate normally.

The state is warning that any oversize/overweight applications in invoiced status that are not paid in full by 4 p.m. on Friday, July 27 will be deleted. Although pending superload applications will be transferred to the new system. The state did warn, the transfer of those applications might not be immediate.

System Upgrades

Once the new system is live, the state anticipates the following positive improvements:

  • Use any internet browser, from a mobile device without a Java plug-in requirement
  • Point and click maps – for an easier route selection
  • Stand-alone routing – check routes before selecting them on an application
  • Permit revision capability – check revised routing on your own
  • Instant help on screen – instructions will be available via “help” button at the top of each screen
  • Exact address search – No need to find nearest state highway, which ensures routing is complete
  • Enter equipment info once – The system stores it, easily click to add vehicles to applications
  • Add up to 50 vehicles to blanket permit application – saves time
  • Send permits to multiple locations at once – by email, fax or both
  • Upload documents directly – click route surveys and load schematics directly to the permit requests, no more supplemental emails

Contact MoDOT

The state says these improvements came as a result of customer suggestions and this new means of communication will make them more effective and will allow them to quickly alert those permitted to travel in the event of an emergency which width, weight or height restrictions are in place.

MoDOT agents are available 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to assist with any questions or issues, and can be reached at 800.877.8499.

WCS Permits Can Help

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! If you have any questions, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6483 to reach our customer service department. One of our experienced transportation agents can help you with any needs and questions that you may have or direct you to the expert who can.