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PennDOT plowing brings challenges

PennDOT crews plowed roads on alternating 12-hour shifts this week to keep up with the snowstorm, and drivers said city roads make it more difficult. (WJAC)

ALTOONA -- PennDOT crews plowed roads on alternating 12-hour shifts this week to keep up with the snowstorm.

"They'll basically be pushing back any of the snow from this storm, any incoming snow and then they will also be watching for any blowing and drifting areas," PennDOT community relations coordinator Tara Henry said.

Allan Dively drives a plow truck from noon to midnight and is responsible for the city roads through Altoona.

He said traffic lights, intersections and people make his route more difficult than those on highways.

"There are a lot of parked cars and people walking at all times of the day," Dively said.

Plow trucks go slower than regular traffic no matter the road, but Dively said especially in the city, "I'll plow at 5 or 10 mph so I don't have to take the chance of hitting anybody or injuring anyone."

Dively said one of the hardest parts of the job is dealing with the public on the road.

He said people know that the law changes with the weather, but they just won't follow it.

"They have I-99 shut down to 45 mph and we still have traffic going 70 mph," he said. "We have signs on the back of our trucks that say, 'Stay back 100 feet,' and the public is riding right up on us."

This week's snow hit some areas harder than others.

Multiple cars were stuck on the side of the road in Logan Township and police directed traffic as Dively maneuvered his plow around the scene.

With more snow and wind expected this week, Henry advised drivers not to speed up to pass a truck during a snow squall or a whiteout.

"Their visibility in that truck is reduced. They may not see you," she said. "They may be adjusting a plow or something, so the best place to be is behind that plow truck."

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