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Author Topic: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75  (Read 1302 times)

Mr. Matté

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2020, 12:27:28 PM »

I would think the simplest answer for not opening up the maintenance access roads (and why they would not want to theoretically spend money on EZPass readers on them as mentioned elsewhere) is because the PTC would not want traffic exiting the access roads onto the 1˝-lane-wide Boondocks-Hicksville Road for many miles to eventually reach a two-lane hilly state highway. The traffic along those roads would become hellish in that case. This is such a rare occurrence, it's not worth it.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2020, 12:48:45 PM »

I wonder how expensive it would be, after total cashless tolling conversion, to put emergency E-ZPass readers at the maintenance access points so that they can activate them in the event of a closure.

It would be 100s of times cheaper just to allow trapped vehicles to exit and write off the loss.  Anyone that didn't get beyond the previous exit will be directed to exit there, so the overall loss of those exiting at an emergency exit is probably just in the thousands of dollars at most. 

Having a full closure isn't relatively unusual.  Being that 5 people were killed in this accident, along with 4 commercial vehicles involved, makes it more newsworthy.
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qguy

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Re: Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2020, 08:13:10 AM »

It would be 100s of times cheaper just to allow trapped vehicles to exit and write off the loss.

The PTC actually calls this Plan X. It's as if it's "the thing that shall not be named." Like they can't bring themselves to even think about it.  :-D

They do implement it from time to time, however.
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PAHighways

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2020, 08:26:13 AM »

I would think the simplest answer for not opening up the maintenance access roads (and why they would not want to theoretically spend money on EZPass readers on them as mentioned elsewhere) is because the PTC would not want traffic exiting the access roads onto the 1˝-lane-wide Boondocks-Hicksville Road for many miles to eventually reach a two-lane hilly state highway. The traffic along those roads would become hellish in that case. This is such a rare occurrence, it's not worth it.
Not to mention the maintenance access roads and points weren't designed nor built to accommodate long vehicles such as 18-wheelers, buses, RVs, etc.

SM-G965U

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jemacedo9

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Re: Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2020, 10:28:59 AM »

I would think the simplest answer for not opening up the maintenance access roads (and why they would not want to theoretically spend money on EZPass readers on them as mentioned elsewhere) is because the PTC would not want traffic exiting the access roads onto the 1˝-lane-wide Boondocks-Hicksville Road for many miles to eventually reach a two-lane hilly state highway. The traffic along those roads would become hellish in that case. This is such a rare occurrence, it's not worth it.
Not to mention the maintenance access roads and points weren't designed nor built to accommodate long vehicles such as 18-wheelers, buses, RVs, etc.

SM-G965U



THIS.

What is a good alternative between New Stanton and Donegal for commercial vehicles?
Same question for the portions between Donegal and Somerset, or Somerset and Bedford?

The news releases for planned closures anywhere between New Stanton and Bedford always cite that there are no good alternatives for commercial traffic, so the same would apply for unplanned closures. US 30 is not an option because of the mountain crossings.  PA 31 isn't as bad but I'm not too familiar with it.  The only real options are I-99, US 22, Toll 66 or the one they list.

The same thing happens for closures between Breezewood and Carlisle...the noted detour is I-70 to I-81. US 30 again is not a viable option for commercial vehicles because of the mountain crossings.

And, it would be labor intensive to close that portion just for commercial traffic but not passenger vehicles.
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hbelkins

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2020, 09:04:26 PM »

I wonder if some of those detours aren't prompted by the lack of freeway-to-freeway connections with I-99 and US 219? Using the Turnpike from Breezewood to either Bedford or Somerset, and then using one of those freeways to connect to US 22, would be more logical for through I-76 traffic than routing it south into Maryland and then back north.

I drove PA 31 from Somerset to Bedford year before last. It's not a particularly bad route -- no severe grades or switchback curves. Certainly no different than the routes onto which Kentucky detours traffic when the interstate is closed. If something happens on I-75, traffic uses US 25. On I-65, it's US 31W -- although Kentucky has started promoting the Natcher and WK parkways as a detour for through traffic if something happens between Bowling Green and E-town.
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Duke87

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2020, 09:01:25 PM »

I wonder if some of those detours aren't prompted by the lack of freeway-to-freeway connections with I-99 and US 219? Using the Turnpike from Breezewood to either Bedford or Somerset, and then using one of those freeways to connect to US 22, would be more logical for through I-76 traffic than routing it south into Maryland and then back north.

Going up to US 22 is just as out of the way as going down to I-68. Neither is really a good detour route, though if you instruct people to do this at least some of them will blindly listen, which then keeps at least some of the detour traffic on high grade roads.

If the turnpike is closed between New Stanton and Somerset, the most direct detour route is US 119 to PA 31. Closing at Somerset therefore still results in some detour traffic passing through Mount Pleasant.

If the turnpike is closed between New Stanton and Bedford, then the most direct detour route is US 30 to Irwin for I-76, and US 30 to US 119 or PA 66 for I-70.

So... Somerset is ruled out as an acceptable westbound closure point for the same political reasons that Donegal is (must prevent detour traffic from passing through Mount Pleasant). But I don't know why not Bedford. Hell, even if you want to route people to I-68, it's arguably better to get there via US 220 than it is via I-70.
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sbeaver44

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2020, 05:31:32 PM »

I've never understood the full-scale closures of the Turnpike when an incident happens between two exits. I saw a news report saying it was closed between New Stanton and Breezewood. That's the entire I-70 concurrency. Something similar happened when there was a bridge demolition. The work happened west of Bedford, yet it was closed between Bedford and Breezewood as well.
I hear a lot of Carlisle-to-Breezewood closures on the radio, even when something happens at say, between Carlisle and Blue Mountain.  I think they take a heavy-handed "if trucks have to take a detour down 81 to 70, then so do cars".  I realize there isn't a ton of traffic exiting between those exits, but I always wondered what about people who live near an exit like Fort Littleton.

There just really aren't any great ways between Carlisle and Breezewood without the Turnpike, even for cars.
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hbelkins

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2020, 05:44:42 PM »

I wonder if some of those detours aren't prompted by the lack of freeway-to-freeway connections with I-99 and US 219? Using the Turnpike from Breezewood to either Bedford or Somerset, and then using one of those freeways to connect to US 22, would be more logical for through I-76 traffic than routing it south into Maryland and then back north.

Going up to US 22 is just as out of the way as going down to I-68. Neither is really a good detour route, though if you instruct people to do this at least some of them will blindly listen, which then keeps at least some of the detour traffic on high grade roads.

Not if the through traffic plans to stay on the turnpike (I-76) at New Stanton and head west toward Ohio.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2020, 06:59:01 PM »

Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2020, 07:42:34 PM »

Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

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cpzilliacus

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2020, 08:53:45 PM »

Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.
Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

Correct.  I do not like Act 44 and Act 89 any better than most of the members here, but ultimately, I think this becomes a matter of sovereign immunity (in other words, you cannot generally sue the king).   Nor can you sue (in most cases) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its agencies and political subdivisions, but there are some exceptions.

Two are relevant to our discussion but it is not about Act 44 or Act 89.

Quote
(4)  Commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks.--A dangerous condition of Commonwealth agency real estate and sidewalks, including Commonwealth-owned real property, leaseholds in the possession of a Commonwealth agency and Commonwealth-owned real property leased by a Commonwealth agency to private persons, and highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency, except conditions described in paragraph (5).

Quote
(5)  Potholes and other dangerous conditions.--A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph.
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hbelkins

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2020, 08:32:06 PM »

Where was the dangerous condition here? It sounds more and more like driver error to me. Thousands of big vehicles negotiate that section of the Turnpike every day without incident. The bus driver screwed up.
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PAHighways

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2020, 08:46:54 PM »

The section where the accident took place was rebuilt in 2000.  Even during construction, accidents in the cattle chutes seemed to occur almost on a weekly basis which I had previously mentioned.  One of the worst took place on September 8:  http://www.pahighways.com/toll/PATurnpike.html#Chapter13.

SM-G965U

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jeffandnicole

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2020, 11:21:46 PM »

The section where the accident took place was rebuilt in 2000.  Even during construction, accidents in the cattle chutes seemed to occur almost on a weekly basis which I had previously mentioned.  One of the worst took place on September 8:  http://www.pahighways.com/toll/PATurnpike.html#Chapter13.

SM-G965U



Cattleshute accidents are extremely common. There's a psychological uncomfortableness when motorists are in cattleshutes and rear end accidents often occur.
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PAHighways

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2020, 12:31:21 AM »

I don't recall hearing about accidents that necessitated closures during reconstruction of other sections such as Mileposts 0-10, 44-48, or 67-75 for example.  If any accidents did occur, they did not happen with such frequency or severity.

SM-G965U
« Last Edit: January 12, 2020, 12:33:49 AM by PAHighways »
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kphoger

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2020, 01:33:58 PM »


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

Correct.  I do not like Act 44 and Act 89 any better than most of the members here, but ultimately, I think this becomes a matter of sovereign immunity (in other words, you cannot generally sue the king).   Nor can you sue (in most cases) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its agencies and political subdivisions, but there are some exceptions.

Two are relevant to our discussion but it is not about Act 44 or Act 89.

Quote
(4)  Commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks.--A dangerous condition of Commonwealth agency real estate and sidewalks, including Commonwealth-owned real property, leaseholds in the possession of a Commonwealth agency and Commonwealth-owned real property leased by a Commonwealth agency to private persons, and highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency, except conditions described in paragraph (5).

Quote
(5)  Potholes and other dangerous conditions.--A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph.

From my understanding, this is similar to how it works on Mexican toll roads.  There, your toll ticket acts as insurance in case of damage to your vehicle.  However, that damage must be due to poor maintenance of the road itself—not due to some perceived design flaw.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2020, 01:38:16 PM »


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

Correct.  I do not like Act 44 and Act 89 any better than most of the members here, but ultimately, I think this becomes a matter of sovereign immunity (in other words, you cannot generally sue the king).   Nor can you sue (in most cases) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its agencies and political subdivisions, but there are some exceptions.

Two are relevant to our discussion but it is not about Act 44 or Act 89.

Quote
(4)  Commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks.--A dangerous condition of Commonwealth agency real estate and sidewalks, including Commonwealth-owned real property, leaseholds in the possession of a Commonwealth agency and Commonwealth-owned real property leased by a Commonwealth agency to private persons, and highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency, except conditions described in paragraph (5).

Quote
(5)  Potholes and other dangerous conditions.--A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph.

From my understanding, this is similar to how it works on Mexican toll roads.  There, your toll ticket acts as insurance in case of damage to your vehicle.  However, that damage must be due to poor maintenance of the road itself—not due to some perceived design flaw.

How did the crash occur?  How did thousands of other vehicles get by the same area without incident, and continue to do so?

BTW, "Property" in #5 above is speaking about one's vehicle, so this would be the exact opposite of insurance to your vehicle.  The toll ticket is simply a means to inform the exiting toll taker where you entered the turnpike.  It implies no warranties regarding road conditions.

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qguy

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2020, 06:37:18 AM »


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

Correct.  I do not like Act 44 and Act 89 any better than most of the members here, but ultimately, I think this becomes a matter of sovereign immunity (in other words, you cannot generally sue the king).   Nor can you sue (in most cases) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its agencies and political subdivisions, but there are some exceptions.

Two are relevant to our discussion but it is not about Act 44 or Act 89.

Quote
(4)  Commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks.--A dangerous condition of Commonwealth agency real estate and sidewalks, including Commonwealth-owned real property, leaseholds in the possession of a Commonwealth agency and Commonwealth-owned real property leased by a Commonwealth agency to private persons, and highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency, except conditions described in paragraph (5).

Quote
(5)  Potholes and other dangerous conditions.--A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph.

From my understanding, this is similar to how it works on Mexican toll roads.  There, your toll ticket acts as insurance in case of damage to your vehicle.  However, that damage must be due to poor maintenance of the road itself—not due to some perceived design flaw.

How did the crash occur?  How did thousands of other vehicles get by the same area without incident, and continue to do so?

BTW, "Property" in #5 above is speaking about one's vehicle, so this would be the exact opposite of insurance to your vehicle.  The toll ticket is simply a means to inform the exiting toll taker where you entered the turnpike.  It implies no warranties regarding road conditions.

In '02 or '03 I was driving with my wife and two little kids eastbound on the PA Turnpike. Just after emerging from the eastern portal of the Tuscarora tunnel, at the relatively sharp curve to the left, we were in the left lane with a truck beside us in the right lane. I came across debris in the lane and with the lack of shoulder on the left and a truck on the right, couldn't avoid it and ran over it. It made a worryingly loud impact to the undercarriage. The Willow Hill exit came up almost immediately and I got off to check the vehicle and stopped the car in a gravel area near the toll Plaza administration building.

Sure enough, there was a finger-size stream of gasoline pouring out of a hole in the fuel tank. We ended up staying in a small motel nearby overnight and much of the next day while the tank was replaced.

Although I didn't think anything would come of it, I submitted a claim to the Turnpike. It was denied on the basis that there was no negligence involved. The roadway itself was OK and the routine checks just hadn't yet caught the debris. I was driving the facility at my own risk.
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kphoger

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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2020, 11:52:51 AM »




Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.


Could there be a point where Act 44 could be challenged as criminal negligence.  It's one thing not to have the money to make a safety improvement, and yet another to have money and divert it.

No. 

Correct.  I do not like Act 44 and Act 89 any better than most of the members here, but ultimately, I think this becomes a matter of sovereign immunity (in other words, you cannot generally sue the king).   Nor can you sue (in most cases) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its agencies and political subdivisions, but there are some exceptions.

Two are relevant to our discussion but it is not about Act 44 or Act 89.

Quote
(4)  Commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks.--A dangerous condition of Commonwealth agency real estate and sidewalks, including Commonwealth-owned real property, leaseholds in the possession of a Commonwealth agency and Commonwealth-owned real property leased by a Commonwealth agency to private persons, and highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency, except conditions described in paragraph (5).

Quote
(5)  Potholes and other dangerous conditions.--A dangerous condition of highways under the jurisdiction of a Commonwealth agency created by potholes or sinkholes or other similar conditions created by natural elements, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the Commonwealth agency had actual written notice of the dangerous condition of the highway a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph.

From my understanding, this is similar to how it works on Mexican toll roads.  There, your toll ticket acts as insurance in case of damage to your vehicle.  However, that damage must be due to poor maintenance of the road itself—not due to some perceived design flaw.

How did the crash occur?  How did thousands of other vehicles get by the same area without incident, and continue to do so?

BTW, "Property" in #5 above is speaking about one's vehicle, so this would be the exact opposite of insurance to your vehicle.  The toll ticket is simply a means to inform the exiting toll taker where you entered the turnpike.  It implies no warranties regarding road conditions.

Was that about Pennsylvania or Mexico?

If Pennsylvania, then yes, I apparently neglected to read the last sentence of Paragraph 5 before typing my reply:  "Property damages shall not be recoverable under this paragraph."  If I had read that, then I wouldn't have claimed it's similar to the system in Mexico.

But, as for Mexico, the toll ticket does very much indeed count as insurance against damage to your vehicle due to poor road maintenance.  This has the unfortunate effect that damage incurred before the toll booth cannot be claimed, because you hadn't yet received a toll ticket at that point.  There has been, for example, a lot of discussion regarding the Autopista Premier between Allende and Nueva Rosita, Coahuila:  the toll road is 52 km long, but the toll barrier is located only 1˝ km from the north end of it.  The pavement is in notoriously bad shape (in worse condition than the free road drivers are supposedly paying extra to avoid), and basically nobody driving north is covered by highway insurance.  Personally, I don't think the pavement is in all that terrible condition—I generally just ride the center white stripe or shoulder stripe to avoid the bumpies, while other drivers including gringos don't even bother doing that—but I've read several news articles about how area residents have been complaining about the setup for a number of years.
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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2020, 02:41:34 PM »


How did the crash occur?  How did thousands of other vehicles get by the same area without incident, and continue to do so?

From the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh (https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/police-bus-driver-2-others-ejected-after-hitting-center-barrier-in-deadly-turnpike-crash/):

The bus "struck the center barrier at 3:30 a.m., state police said."

"Shuang Qing Feng, 58, of Flushing, N.Y., was driving west in the left lane when the bus hit the barrier on a downhill curve near mile marker 86 in Mt. Pleasant Township. The bus then veered to the right, drove up a steep embankment and rolled over, according to investigators.

The bus, belonging to Z&D Tours of Rockaway, N.J., then slid back onto the road and hit the center barrier a second time before coming to a stop. A FedEx tractor-trailer hit the bottom of the bus, ejecting two bus passengers, Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of Bronx, N.Y., and Jaremy Vazquez, 9, of Brooklyn, N.Y., police said.

The bus also was hit by a UPS tractor-trailer based out of the Harrisburg operating center operated by Dennis Kehler, 48, of Lebanon, Pa., and Daniel Kepner, 53, of Lewistown, Pa. They died at the scene, along with the bus driver and two occupants who were ejected.

A Mercedes-Benz car then hit the side of the UPS tractor-trailer and a second UPS tractor-trailer collided with the wreckage, trapping the car. The driver of the second UPS tractor-trailer and the Mercedes were not hurt, police said."

"Turnpike officials said the road had been treated and was not icy."

So it was dark, traffic was moving on a wet road, and the bus driver lost control, hit the center median barrier (there is not much separation between lanes here, just the barrier), and was struck by two following tractor trailers, who even at a reasonable distance behind the bus wouldn't have much time to react or any place to go. The State Police have an engine control module from the bus that shows "engine performance, throttle position, speed, brake application and sometimes steering input" plus they pulled an outward-facing camera from one of the tractor trailers. Between the State Police and NTSB, a preliminary report should be released in the next several days with a full NTSB report in about 2 years.
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Re: 5 dead in PA turnpike crash, leaves road closed between MM 161 & 75
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2020, 03:03:55 PM »


How did the crash occur?  How did thousands of other vehicles get by the same area without incident, and continue to do so?

From the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh (https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/police-bus-driver-2-others-ejected-after-hitting-center-barrier-in-deadly-turnpike-crash/):

The bus "struck the center barrier at 3:30 a.m., state police said."

"Shuang Qing Feng, 58, of Flushing, N.Y., was driving west in the left lane when the bus hit the barrier on a downhill curve near mile marker 86 in Mt. Pleasant Township. The bus then veered to the right, drove up a steep embankment and rolled over, according to investigators.

The bus, belonging to Z&D Tours of Rockaway, N.J., then slid back onto the road and hit the center barrier a second time before coming to a stop. A FedEx tractor-trailer hit the bottom of the bus, ejecting two bus passengers, Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of Bronx, N.Y., and Jaremy Vazquez, 9, of Brooklyn, N.Y., police said.

The bus also was hit by a UPS tractor-trailer based out of the Harrisburg operating center operated by Dennis Kehler, 48, of Lebanon, Pa., and Daniel Kepner, 53, of Lewistown, Pa. They died at the scene, along with the bus driver and two occupants who were ejected.

A Mercedes-Benz car then hit the side of the UPS tractor-trailer and a second UPS tractor-trailer collided with the wreckage, trapping the car. The driver of the second UPS tractor-trailer and the Mercedes were not hurt, police said."

"Turnpike officials said the road had been treated and was not icy."

So it was dark, traffic was moving on a wet road, and the bus driver lost control, hit the center median barrier (there is not much separation between lanes here, just the barrier), and was struck by two following tractor trailers, who even at a reasonable distance behind the bus wouldn't have much time to react or any place to go. The State Police have an engine control module from the bus that shows "engine performance, throttle position, speed, brake application and sometimes steering input" plus they pulled an outward-facing camera from one of the tractor trailers. Between the State Police and NTSB, a preliminary report should be released in the next several days with a full NTSB report in about 2 years.


I'd put the final NTSB report at closer to a year to be released.  Highway crashes like this are usually far less complicated than airliner crashes - which usually take about two years for the final report - are to investigate  And the preliminary report, which normally comes out between two weeks and a month after the accident, only updates the status of the investigation and does not offer any possible findings.  During the course of an investigation, the NTSB will often release public dockets regarding certain evidence.  These are factual in nature only and, again, do not offer any possible findings.
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