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Putting PennDOT’s Plow Tracker to the Test

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SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY -- It took a while to get here, but the snow finally started to fall across northeastern and central Pennsylvania, which meant plenty of plow trucks out on the roads.

PennDOT recently unveiled an option for drivers to look up on their phone using the 511 PA app to see where plows are and where they have been the last two hours across interstates and other major roadways.

Newswatch 16 sought out three plow trucks in Susquehanna County that were featured on the app using realtime GPS.

In a matter of minutes, the first plow was found on I-81 north near Lenox.

Shortly thereafter, just as the app showed, the second plow truck was located across from a gas station near Harford.

Truck driver Emil Madore couldn't believe his eyes, seeing the truck on the app, and then right outside where it said it would be.

"I can plot out my route a little better if I know where the storms are and where the plows are," he explained.

The last plow truck was located at a salt station just north of New Milford reloading before another run on the roads, just as the app showed. PennDOT representative James May told Newswatch16 that trucks will still show up on the app as long as they haven't been turned off for more than 30 minutes.

Only about 60 plow trucks in northeastern counties are set up to appear in 511PA, so Fred Ainey of Susquehanna was a little skeptical when we first approached him just minutes after seeing a plow truck that was nowhere to be found on the app.

But after browsing the app further, Ainey was awestruck at all the information now at his fingertips and he hopes PennDOT expands the feature past just the major roadways.

"If I know my roads are cleared up to where I live--and I live way out that way in the boonies--that'd be really awesome," he said.

Overall, all the drivers we spoke with gave a thumbs up to PennDOT's new feature.

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