11% Grade - Made Me Pucker!

Topic 6190 | Page 1

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6 string rhythm's Comment
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The latter part of my day yesterday was spent having to bypass the PA Turnpike (76) since I had bulk flammable hazmat - no tunnels for me. The Penna Turn Pike has 4 tunnels that do not allow certain hazmat loads. To get from Somerset to Carlisle, I had to take 30 E, to 70 E, to 81 N instead of just driving 76 E. Normally from Somerset to Carlisle it takes roughly 2 hours heading 76 W. Taking the alternate route because of bulk hazmat added a good 60 some miles, and had me dipping into MD on 70 E.

Route 30 E through Pennsylvania mountains is not a lot of fun at night when it's your first time. Slow, slow driving. Besides the narrow road and low speed limits, there are 11% and 9% grades for miles through the mountains. I was also a good 70,000 lbs. Thankfully, I grabbed 70 E at Breezewood, PA so I didn't have to deal w/ 30 E from Breezewood to McConnellsburg - that's supposed to be very dangerous.

I've been on grades up to 9% before, in the NE and places like WV heading towards OH. But that 11% was a killer. I didn't think I'd see something like that in PA. Thankfully, I had enough sense to drop it to 6th gear w/ the jakes on high. And unlike some mountain passes I've been through out west, there were no truck run offs. Just posted areas where you were supposed to pull off to the side to let your brakes cool. I never touched my brakes once, in fact, I had to tap on the accelerator at times to get up to speed a bit. Truck limit was posted at 20 mph. I hovered between 17-20 mph - just to be safe on a road I'd never been on before, and during the night. I wonder if I had it in 7th, if I would've had to apply the brakes at all. Better to be safe and slow.

I still need to learn to also descend without the jakes so that I'm prepared for adverse weather conditions. I don't want to be too dependent on them.

11% grade - I feel like I gained a little more experience after that one. embarrassed.gif


Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

James Skattebo-Rhoades's Comment
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Did you check to make sure that there were no brown spots in your drawers after? Lol only kidding. That doesn't sound like it was fun. Maybe it would have been better in the daylight for you. Things always look different in day then they do at night. It's interesting how your perception can change so quickly

Scott O.'s Comment
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I broke down for 9 hours on the pa turnpike on my way for home time I know how you feel I hate that turnpike and 30e and I also been on a 11% grade but in a car thank god lol that was in Oregon

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I've been on grades up to 9% before, in the NE and places like WV heading towards OH. But that 11% was a killer. I didn't think I'd see something like that in PA

I remember an instructor telling us in truck driving school, "Don't ever get off the interstate in Pennsylvania if you don't know for certain where you're going because the mountains go straight up and straight down." Man, he wasn't kidding! That's where I've encountered the steepest hills I've been on which were 10% and 11% grades. There is nothing fun about that if you ask me. Going down mountain grades can always be treacherous. But you start talking 9% and above and it's very sketchy even on dry roads. There is no room for error whatsoever.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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