Emergency Responders Concerned About Response Time

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Drivers in Schuylkill County have to take detours because an interchange on Interstate 81 is closed. Some first responders are concerned about getting to emergencies quickly.

Crews from a contractor work on the Interstate 81  interchange ramps at McAdoo. All of the ramps are closed to traffic.

There are plenty of signs directing drivers to take detours. Mike Yavorski has the job of directing trucks into the project and watching for drivers who may not be paying attention to all the warnings signs.

"Sometimes when you have a tri axle trying to get off and someone is close behind and they can't slow down fast enough to get into the area so they can end up hitting a cone or two and we just have make sure to stay out of the way," said Mike Yavorski.

The McAdoo Fire Department is often busy with incidents on the interstate even without the construction project.

"Sometimes we're up there three, four times a month. Once the winter gets here we can be up there three, four times a week, depending on what the situation is. Really bad and the fog up here is what's really bad and when we get fog it gets a little worse," said McAdoo Assistant Fire Chief Bob Leshko.

With the interchange closed, crews worry their response times to interstate emergencies will take longer.

"We try and make it the least as possible by putting Delano on but they have five miles to go before they get in the McAdoo area. Our response times is increased by four or five miles before we get there," Leshko added.

Another concern is some of the detours funnel even more interstate traffic through downtown McAdoo.

"It's going to increase our response time with the equipment and personnel coming to the station due to the heavy traffic coming through McAdoo and the area," Leshko said.

PennDOT knows with the McAdoo interchange closed it is an inconvenience for some drivers but that inconvenience should only be until July first when the project is scheduled to be completed.