DVE-News/TV reporter Taylor Allen from Delaware Valley Elementary School requested an interview with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in Milford. We were invited to talk with the business manager, Mr. Charles DeFebo, and county manager, Mr. Jeff Luongo.
David started us off by asking Mr. DeFebo about his job as an assistant highway maintenance manager. He said the bottom line is to keep the public safe. They hire more people during the winter to help the keep the roads passable. They perform dry runs prior to a storm to look at drainage ditches, low-hanging lines, potholes, manholes, fire hydrants, etc., and document it all.
Logan asked how they prepare for a storm. They have people stay late the day before to prepare and usually stay during the duration of the storm. They use different plows: the butterfly plow and wing plow, the reversible plow, the funnel plow, and the brine truck. They are in the middle of building a new plow that would combine all those plows in one. That way they can plow Interstate 84 in one sweep. Mr. Luongo said they receive a phone call from our school district asking about the road conditions with regards to whether there should be a school opening or closing.
Xiomara asked about which road is taken care of the most. He responded that Route 84 is the first priority as it has the most traffic. He said you can check out PA511 to see current road conditions and also view their traffic cameras. They take care of six zones in Pike County.
Zion asked about the different materials they use on the roads. They use mainly salt and rocks called anti-skid during the storms. Prior to the storms they use brine on the roads. Ziomara they asked what’s the difference in road treatment between snow and ice conditions. He uses salt and the plow for snow.
When Nadya asked about what kinds of licenses are required to drive the PennDOT trucks, he responded that a CDL (commercial driver's license) license is required. It is needed to drive a vehicle over 26,000 pounds. They do ask for outside help when its needed. They also sometimes use their plows to assist ambulances when roads are impassable.
Potholes and breakdowns
Taylor asked about why it takes so long to get potholes fixed. Mr. DeFebo explained how potholes form with water, and repeated freeze and thaw conditions under the asphalt. They organize to tar and chip for each zone in Pike County. One zone gets completed each year.
Mr. DeFebo received the Star of Excellence Award. Thirty employees a year receive it. He had lunch at the governor’s home. He was very proud and humbled to receive it.
When asked what happens if the truck breaks down on the road, he said that if it can be towed to the garage, they would prefer to work on it in the garage as it is safer than on the roads. Sometimes there is no choice, it just has to be repaired on the road.
PennDOT is also in charge of the Adopt A Highway Program for people in the community who would like to help volunteer their time in helping to keep litter off our roads. He said they provide the hard hats, gloves and plastic bags for people and their trucks also pick up the garbage bags after it is done! They are grateful for the help.
PennDOT has been in existence, since 1967. After the interview, they gave us a tour of the maintenance garage and let us try on the hard hats. We got to see some of the trucks and plows. It was a wonderful morning and very informative.
Mr. DeFebo wanted all of Pike County to make sure that their cars are in good working condition and that you have good tires on your vehicle. Remember to leave earlier during a storm and most importantly: Slow your driving down and stay safe! Thank you PennDOT!
By DVE-News/TV reporters Emilie Moon, Xiomara Rosario, David Garcia, Zion Colon, Logan Clarke, Nadya Bermudez, Taylor Allen.
Mr. DeFebo wanted all of Pike County to make sure that their cars are in good working condition and that you have good tires on your vehicle. Remember to leave earlier during a storm and most importantly: Slow your driving down and stay safe!