Snow Causing Traffic Headaches Along Interstate 81 South in Luzerne County

HAZLETON, Pa. -- Several exits on Interstate 81 in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties are jammed with cars and trucks who tried to get off the interstate after spending several hours on the highways stuck in traffic.

A long line of frustration.

Cars and trucks sit still on 81 south in Butler Township, about four miles north of Hazleton.

"I probably should have left this morning because I wanted to be out of Pennsylvania by the time this hits," said Connie McGaughey.

But McGaughey remains in Luzerne County about 25 miles from her home in West Pittston far from Virginia, where she plans to pick up her grandson and bring him home.

“For Thanksgiving, for the holiday," said McGaughey.

A close look at this headlight shows that after about an hour, the snow began to turn to sleet but the wreck on Interstate 81 south took a long time to clear and people were still stuck in traffic for miles.

“If I’d have known if the roads weren’t going to be treated, I would have just stayed in Wilkes-Barre, our company would have paid to put us up," said John Suveg of Nesquehoning.

A PennDOT spokesman says all interstates in the region were treated.

Suveg of Nesquehoning says he and several co-workers don’t believe it.

“I’ve been communicating with some other guys who are in the same boat, but in different areas," said Suveg.

PennDOT's Twitter account warned of 16 crashes or disabled trucks along Interstate 81, 80, and the turnpike in our area.

This one on I-81 near Hazleton was caused by six jack-knifed semis, but the problem wasn’t over for many.

Dozens of drivers getting off I-81 found themselves stuck on exits, where more semis lost control and blocked traffic.

“It’s okay, we get paid by the hour, so we don’t mind buddy," said Zach Peak of Hazleton.

Connie McGaughey said she wanted to get south as soon as possible and plans to drive all night to get her grandson back for a big pre-Thanksgiving event Saturday.

 “I want the grandson to see his daddy in the parade," said McGaughey.

Since PennDOT's priority is to clear wrecks from the interstate, it may be a long night for those stuck in traffic on highway exits.

1 Comment

  • jimbrony

    “PennDOT’s Twitter account warned of 16 crashes or disabled trucks along Interstate 81, 80, and the turnpike in our area.” That number seems low…

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