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PennDOT has 350 drivers out clearing roads after storm

Updated: Thursday, January 2 2014, 10:44 PM CST
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

HARRISBURG -- PennDOT crews were out in full force Thursday night as they continue to clear off area roadways following the winter storm.

Almost 350 drivers will spread the rock salt mix on area roadways trying to clear off the snow in time for the morning commute. 

Thursday's winter storm hit the region just in time for evening rush hour and the poor weather conditions are to blame for several accidents throughout Central Pennsylvania. 

Crews can not treat the roadways until some form of precipitation has fallen, which made the after-work commute challenging for commuters, according to a PennDOT spokeswoman. 

In Dauphin County, nearly 50 drivers are treating the roadways including Dennis Helt.
Helt is one of the hundreds driving a plow truck and said the job is difficult and challenging. 
"When you're sitting in here, it's a full-time job," said Helt as navigated his plow truck on Dauphin County roadways. 

While his attention is focused on the road, Helt must navigate through traffic while operating the plow and numerous gadgets to ensure a successful job. 

His route takes about an hour long to complete, which includes I-81 and Mountain Roads.

Working on 12 hour shifts, the drivers will continue to clear the roadways throughout the night and are on call until Friday night.

"The goal at the end of the shift for the truck driver himself is that he treated the road properly and made it safe for everybody's wives and children to go home safely," said Andrew Houston, a supervisor at the Dauphin County maintenance facility for PennDOT. 

The cold temperatures influence the solution's formula. When the mercury drops to 20 degrees, the rock salt formula becomes almost ineffective. 

At that point, crews add salt brine to help melt the snow and ice off the roadways, but it takes a longer time. When temperatures reach below zero, an anti-skid solution is added to the mix.PennDOT has 350 drivers out clearing roads after storm

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