PennDOT and the Hamburg Area School District are preparing for wintry road conditions, which could affect students and residents.

Hamburg Area School District Superintendent Steven Keifer said the district is taking wintry weather and traffic conditions seriously because of the State Street bridge closure.

Since school transportation has to utilize Interstate 78 because of the bridge construction, he said the interstate is an 'added factor' in determining what to do with school schedules.

Keifer is also concerned if road conditions deteriorate or there is an accident on I-78, it will cause 'gridlock' in Hamburg.

Keifer does not want students to sit in traffic in for extended periods of time, if traffic is rerouted through the borough.

In order to make better decisions on traffic conditions, the district is working closely with borough officials.

Seeing that traffic patterns operate smoothly in case of an emergency, Ron Young, District 5 spokesman for PennDOT, said a contingency plan is in place to help alleviate any possible congestion in the borough.

If I-78 were closed because of an accident or inclement weather, traffic would be rerouted to Fourth Street, then onto State Route 61 north, back onto the interstate, said Young.

Young said if the interstate were to be closed on any other stretch, traffic would follow the posted color-coded detours along the highway and side streets.

Not only is Keifer taking into account the conditions on I-78, but the various roads around the district, since buses travel approximately 3,000 miles a day.

The district is staying vigilant of impending weather conditions, but they are not more inclined to cancel classes due to weather conditions, he said.

'All decisions are based on road conditions,' said Keifer.

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