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Quickly Falling Temps Causing Big Issues On Local Roadways

A flash-freeze on Route 819 causes a 16-car pileup

January 29, 2019 - 10:21 am

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - PennDOT pre-treated wet roads around Pittsburgh soon after overnight rain fell and that's helped keep accidents to a minimum on the parkways and interstates Tuesday morning.

But road conditions are very different in Westmoreland County, where there was an early morning 16-vehicle pileup on Route 819 in Hempfield Township .

The crashed is blamed on a flash freeze. It's an area where trees cast shade on the road lowering the surface temperature enough for any rainwater to freeze.

Now, temperatures are well below freezing and heading lower. Tom Boyle, Maintenance Manager for Westmoreland County, says they have to adjust the mix of salt and stone they spread on the road.

“What we had to do is adjust our mixtures were we typically use in most of the county a 50/50 mixture but sometimes we have to adjust it to the 75/25 where we’re using more stone than salt.

In Pittsburgh the rain has turned to snow with temperatures now below freezing and untreated road surfaces can become icy.

PennDOT was out early Tuesday pre-treating the parkways and interstates.

Lori Musto, Senior Maintenance Manager for Allegheny County, told Larry and John efficiency of salt decreases as temperatures drop.

“We will have trucks constantly out and patrolling and hitting the areas. The people just need to be cautious of changing conditions and be aware of how quickly they can re-freeze, especially the bridge decks.”

Musto adds PennDOT will add anti-skid material to the salt based on conditions.

Related: Pittsburgh Bracing For Brutal, Dangerous Cold Weather

In McCandless, three homes flooded after a water main break along West Ingomar Road around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. The flooded homes are below the break on Donna Drive.

Another break was reported after that along Pine Creek Road. There will be classes today in all North Allegheny schools.

The district says the West Ingomar Road break is not affecting any of its buildings.

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