A spokesman for PennDOT said the state agency responded as soon as possible when it received word during Tuesday's snow fall that several school buses, loaded with children, were stuck on the Lansford-Summit Hill hill (SR902).
At least four buses were stuck atop the hill for at least 1 1/2 hours, according to reports. On them were elementary and kindergarten students.
Shawn Brown, a spokesman for PennDOT, said that PennDOT was informed about 9 a.m. by private citizens about the stuck buses.
Brown said a PennDOT foreman was notified, who then notified his drivers.
"We had a full complement of trucks on the highway," said Brown.
He said preparations for the snow fall were made the day before with PennDOT crews placing a salt brine solution on the highways to help the melting process.
Truck drivers began their shifts at midnight on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the snow.
"All our trucks were out on the highway," said Brown. "We have a lot of roadway to cover."
About three inches of snow fell over most of the area.
"Even with 10 times as many trucks, we need the public to be partners," Brown said, implying that they must use common sense when driving and should stay off the roads if possible.
Brown said after receiving the call, "we got a driver over there."
He said PennDOT has a priority formula for taking care of roads. The bigger roads such as interstates are given priority. The other state routes such as Route 902 get attention. Brown said Route 902 is a "primary road" in Carbon County.
Brown said the PennDOT drivers have 30 mile loops, "and they were out there."
"When we get calls, we do respond like we did," he said.
He explained that sometimes the longer response time is because the truck drivers must drive slow and often must go back to the sheds to restock their supplies.
"Our drivers react, but it can't be instantaneous," he said.
Brown also explained that the snow which fell on Tuesday was more difficult to handle than a deeper snowstorm.
"With a storm like that," he said, referring to the several inches on Tuesday, "it's not a plowing operation. Storms like we had Tuesday are almost equivalent to an ice storm. It makes the roads very slick."
With deeper snow, plowing creates a snow surface which isn't as slippery.
"Our log call shows we got the call at about 9 a.m.," Brown said regarding the buses. "We had someone rerouted to that area at that time."