By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – After a harsh winter that featured motorists stranded for hours on highways, the state transportation secretary says officials are looking at ways to get people off roadways like the turnpike when they are shut down.

Testifying at state budget hearings, PennDOT Secretary and Turnpike Commission member Barry Schoch was asked about allowing motorists to make u-turns when highways are blocked. Afterward, he told reporters that allowing u-turns is a safety issue on roads with narrow medians, like some stretches of the turnpike.

Another option, he says, might be gated ramps that allow access to overhead bridges in emergency situations.

“You could run up the shoulder, get to an overhead bridge and if there’s a gate – if we could make a connection to the local road or state road that is on the overhead bridge, then you could have a gated access. We have several of those along the turnpike now for our equipment and emergency services to use,” he said. “The question is could we add more of those?”

Schoch also says officials are looking at flashing yellow lights on highway entrance ramps to warn people that there is an incident on the road they’re about to get on.


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