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Much of Saucon Valley Still Without Power

Hurricane Sandy's effects were still being felt Wednesday by thousands of Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township residents and business owners who remained without electricity.

UPDATE: The Saucon Valley Athletic Department announced Wednesday that Friday night's scheduled football game (Palisades at Saucon Valley) will now be played on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1pm at Saucon Valley.

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Saucon Valley residents continued to deal with the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy on Halloween day, including a crippling power outage that left the vast majority of local residents in the dark for at least 24 hours.

The bright spot on the local power grid was the south end of Hellertown and surrounding parts of Lower Saucon Township--such as Leithsville--which saw the restoration of electricity late Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday PPL provided estimates for the return of service to other parts of the Saucon Valley that ranged from 11pm Wednesday to 11pm Sunday, Nov. 4.

Via its Twitter feed, the company continued to tell followers that the scope of the damage inflicted by the hurricane means that some customers in hard-hit areas won't have their power back until the weekend.

Subcontracted line crews were spotted parked at Yianni's Taverna near Route 378 in Lower Saucon Township, but a lineman confirmed that the parking lots at the restaurant were being used as a staging area. Once PPL work orders were received, the Pike bucket trucks were being dispatched to various locations in the affected 28-county area served by PPL.

Pike Electric Corporation is based in Mount Airy, N.C., according to its website, and PPL has called in crews from many other states.

Although most of the businesses south of Water Street in Hellertown were open Wednesday, the Route 378 corridor in Lower Saucon remained largely dark.

One notable exception was the Hess gas station and convenience store at Black River Road and Route 378.

Some motorists waited in a line at the station to buy gas and other supplies, while others opted to travel to gas stations outside the Saucon Valley to fuel up.

Readers shared tips about where to buy gas, food, ice and other items--as well as where to find available hotel rooms--on the Hellertown Patch Facebook page.

Hot showers were available at Saucon Valley Middle School, which opened its gym and locker rooms to residents without hot water at home. And the Dewey Fire Co. comfort station in Hellertown remained open as a warming center. Meanwhile in Allentown and Bethlehem overnight shelters were in operation.

School district superintendent Dr. Sandra Fellin said that as of about 3:30pm Wednesday, about 70 local residents had taken advantage of the facilities and "all are very appreciative."

She said the middle school would reopen for local residents' use on Thursday from 8am to 9pm.

Schools will remain closed Thursday, she said, citing the fact that "60 percent of the community (is) still without power" and numerous local roads remain closed.

Fellin also confirmed that the school calendar will have to be adjusted because of the four instruction days students have now missed.

For residents with storm-related debris to dispose of, the Saucon Valley Compost Center opened Wednesday, and it will remain open on a daily basis until further notice Lower Saucon Township announced on its website.

The township also provided an updated list of local roads that were either closed or open with restrictions as of 1pm Wednesday:

  • Spring Valley Road - One lane
  • Seidersville Road - Open in the township, state side of the road remains closed.
  • Ringhoffer Road - City of Bethlehem section - one lane open
  • Sherry Hill Road - Cars only, low wires are hanging
  • Roberts Avenue - Closed
  • Black River Road - Closed at Wydnor
  • Fire Lane - Passable
  • Evergreen Drive - Closed
  • Mockingbird Hill Road - Wires are hanging
  • Apple Street - Wires are hanging
  • Lower Saucon Road - Between Crestline and Wassergass Road - Closed
  • Lower Saucon Road at Woodland Road - Closed
  • Lower Saucon Road at Applebutter Road - Closed
  • Polk Valley Road - Open with lane restrictions
  • Hafler Road - Passable
  • Flint Hill Road - South of Waldheim - Closed
  • Hickory Hill Road - Passable with lane restrictions
  • Easton Road at Ringhoffer Road - Passable
  • Wassergass Road - From Drifting Drive to Williams Township - Closed
  • Moravia Street - Closed
  • County Line at Dogwood - Closed
  • Upper Wilhelm at Apple Street - Restricted to cars only
  • Wassergass Road at Bergstresser - Closed

As a reminder to residents, the township posted the following message: "Please note that if you have any trees that are down which are involved with electrical wires, Lower Saucon Township Public Works cannot remove them. They must be removed by PPL. Please call (PPL at) 1-800-342-5775."

On Wednesday, PPL continued to dispense free ice and water to its customers without power via local retailers including Weis. A list of vendors along with instructions for reimbursement for ice and water purchases made at non-participating retail locations is available on the PPL website.

As of 7:30pm Wednesday there were 684 Hellertown customers and 7,398 Lower Saucon Township customers still without power, according to the online PPL Outage Center map.

The map indicated that 7,667 township customers had power restored in the aftermath of the hurricane, but that number includes some borough customers.

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