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Crash Involving PennDOT Truck Slows Traffic on Interstate 80 in Columbia County

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HEMLOCK TOWNSHIP, Pa -- A crash involving a PennDOT truck slowed traffic on a highway in Columbia County.

It happened on Interstate 80 east near the Buckhorn exit (232) just before 8 a.m. on Monday.

State police say the PennDOT truck was stopped and was setting up for a construction project when it was hit by the big rig.

According to PennDOT, each year there are more than 100 projects on Pennsylvania roadways. PennDOT wants to remind drivers how important it is to be extra cautious when driving through work zones.

Interstate 80 eastbound near Bloomsburg was closed for about five hours as crews cleared debris from a crash.

According to state police, PennDOT workers were getting ready to fix a guide rail and set up cones to direct drivers into the left lane. The driver of a tractor-trailer went right through the cones and into the back of a PennDOT dump truck.

PennDOT worker John Valencik of Bloomsburg was the driver of the dump truck and was trapped in the vehicle. He was treated and released from the hospital. The tractor-trailer driver is from Wisconsin and is in fair condition.

When it comes to work zones, PennDOT officials want to stress the signs are there for a reason.

"To slow down, put your cell phone down, buckle your seatbelt, and obey the traffic signs and our flaggers," said PennDOT official David Thompson.

Thompson said PennDOT works on more than 100 road projects every year all across Pennsylvania.

"We have heard a lot of complaints from our construction zones about people who are impatient, people who are driving too fast, people who are distracted. We just want people to be safe."

Newswatch 16 spoke with drivers about driving through work zones.

"I slow down," said Cindy Welkom of Catawissa. "I have respect for people who are working on the interstate and also the state police who may have someone pulled over."

"I have two teenage kids. We're in the process of teaching them how to drive. It's just one of those things that if everyone drives defensively, then there's less accidents," said Ben Winderman of Laporte.


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