Turnpike plans changes after January storm stranded hundreds

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 5, 2016 3:16 PM

In this photo provided by Michael Watkins, traffic is at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bedford, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Duquesne men's basketball team and Temple University's women's gymnastics team are stuck on the Turnpike due to treacherous weather conditions. A mammoth winter storm crawled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, making roads impassable, shutting down mass transit, and bringing Washington and New York City to a standstill. (AP Photo/Michael Watkins via AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania Turnpike officials say they are looking for ways to better manage commercial traffic during weather emergencies following the massive snowstorm earlier this year that left hundreds of motorists stranded.

Turnpike chief executive officer Mark Compton said tractor-trailers blocked both lanes of traffic during the January storm, and passenger cars became trapped behind tractor-trailers.

Officials are looking for ways to increase truck parking along the entire turnpike.

One of the 22 recommendations in a report released Tuesday on the episode is maintaining caches of emergency rations for such emergencies.

Another is evaluating access ramps, gates and median barriers to better manage backlogged traffic.

More than 500 vehicles were stranded on a 16-mile turnpike stretch 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh as the storm brought two feet of snow to some areas.

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