Interstate 81 Back Open After Wrecks in Luzerne County

It was a slow go for drivers in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Luzerne County Wednesday afternoon as traffic was halted to a stop several times.

A day after a record-breaking snowfall dumped more than a foot of snow in our area, the flakes continued to fly, creating white-out and dangerous conditions.

Many drivers took a breather at a gas station at the Nuangola exit (159).

“It’s only five or six miles per hour so I thought it was better to the exit and take some rest,” said Krishna Pokharel from New York.

James Biondo and his band are making a long trek south from Scranton to Virginia. He says they’re being cautious and just taking it slow.

“It’s a little slippery. We’re driving this 15-passenger with a big trailer in the back, too. (It's a) long trip ahead of us still, so we’re just trying to be safe mostly,” said Biondo.

The northbound lanes of 81 were also slow after a crash just south of Nanticoke had it down to one lane.

Then those lanes were completely shut down after state police say five tractor trailers jackknifed during a snow squall near the Nuangola exit.

Matthew Connery from York County managed to get off 81 before getting caught in the standstill.

“It was around five o’clock they diverted us, big illuminated sign, just rerouted traffic and we just hopped on 80 and fortunately got around it,” said Connery.

As night fell it seemed the road conditions only got worse.

“I wouldn’t recommend passing anybody. The tractor trailers they’re going really slow,” said Angela Capone from Dunmore. “There’s still snow blowing off the trailers and stuff. It’s not safe. I wouldn’t recommend driving it at all, but I have to get back from work.”

PennDOT says the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 reopened just after 6 p.m. The closure created a 14-mile backup.

Remember, you can always get real-time traffic information using the WNEP Traffic Tracker.

1 Comment

  • Judy

    So they shut the highway down (in some places 3 lanes) and left people trapped on the highway because of a disabled vehicle????

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