PA Turnpike head: Stranded drivers were ‘safer’ on turnpike

Mark Compton told the state House Transportation Committee on Wednesday that alternative routes were also impacted by the blizzard, and motorists "were safer on our system."

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Turnpike officials and state police say keeping vehicles on the turnpike during a historic snowfall last month that stranded hundreds for more than 24 hours was the safest decision under the circumstances.

Turnpike chief executive Mark Compton told the state House Transportation Committee on Wednesday that alternative routes were also impacted by the blizzard, and motorists “were safer on our system.” He said “Having these motorists essentially shelter in place was the best option.”

State police patrol director Maj. Edward Hoke said the fact that there was no loss of life shows that the decision to “not scatter traffic in areas not sufficient to handle it” was a wise one.

Compton said officials are trying to ensure that in future sufficient personnel and equipment can get where they are needed.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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