NJ bans commercial vehicles from most highways due to storm
TRENTON — In anticipation of heavy snow during the weekend winter storm State Police have put a commercial vehicle and motorcycle ban in effect starting at noon on Saturday.
The storm will begin as heavy snow Saturday afternoon for much of the state before turning to heavy rain at night as far north as Route 80, according to Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
"Don't be caught off-guard by rapidly deteriorating travel concerns. It's wholly possible that northern/central NJ has an inch of snow on the ground by about 6-7 p.m.," Zarrow said.
Zarrow's big concern overall is that far North Jersey will remain snowy for the entire duration of the storm, contributing to some big snow totals. While the truly heaviest snow from this storm (up to 2 feet) will fall across Upstate New York and New England, 6+ inches of accumulation is more than enough to make getting around very difficult.
The ban will prevent the vehicles, especially tractor trailers, from getting stuck on snow covered highways and hindering snow removal efforts. The ban is on the following highways:
- I-195 (entire length)
- I-78 (entire length)
- I-80 (entire length)
- I-280 (entire length)
- I-287 (entire length)
- I-295 (including and between exits 60 (I-195) and 76 (Route 29))
The commercial vehicle travel restriction does NOT apply to the following roadways:
- New Jersey Turnpike
- Garden State Parkway
The commercial vehicle travel restriction applies to:
- All tractor-trailers
- Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks
- Passenger vehicles pulling trailers
- Recreational vehicles
Pennsylvania also put a ban in effect starting at noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and all its interstates and expressways except for Route 95.
State Police Colonel Patrick J. Callahan said trucks already in New Jersey are encouraged to use truck stops or rest areas during the restriction. Drivers should not park on shoulders so plows can do a better job at removing snow.
There is no ban on private vehicles from driving but Callahan urged residents to stay off the roads unless they are an essential employee needed for emergency response.
Callahan said that if you must go out, drive slowly, fill your gas tank, charge your phone, pack blankets, water and non-perishable food items.
During the November storm cars and trucks became stuck on Route 280 stranding drivers for hours. The Liberty Middle School in West Orange kept hundreds of students at the school for hours, some until the next morning.
Jackknifed tractor trailers and fallen trees trapped drivers on Routes 78, 280 and 287 for hours during a storm last March. The State Police Urban Search and Rescue Team used snowmobiles to get the stuck drivers off Route 78 in the Berkeley Heights area.