CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — New York has lifted the travel ban in Erie County, but only for snow shovelers who will help dig out Highmark Stadium ahead of the Bills-Steelers game on Monday. With an expected five to eight more inches of snow, it will require an overnight effort to fully dig the stadium and the stands where the fans will sit.
The full travel ban is expected to be lifted at 6:00 a.m. Even at kickoff, it will be frigid, with the wind chill reaching near zero degrees or even below that. Winds will still be howling up near 20 miles per hour, and there is a chance for some flurries to drop during the game.
All areas other than Lackawanna, Lancaster, Cheektowaga, Depew, and Sloan will have the travel ban lifted at 6:00 a.m. They are authorizing snow shovelers to help out the stadium to ensure the safety of public on Monday.
But even playing the game will require the help of those snow shovelers. The Bills are inviting the first 200 shovelers into the stadium to help out, and they will pay those people $20 per hour to help with the efforts. Those wanting to help must be over 18 with proper identification or under 18 with the proper working papers to be allowed to help out in the efforts.
The Thruway remains closed to access the stadium, along with Routes 219, 400, and 5, and so the stadium will have tobe accessed by Route 20 or Abbott Road.
The Steelers’ arrival was delayed by just over 24 hours after a state of emergency in New York forced the game to be rescheduled from 1 p.m. on Sunday to 4:30 p.m. on Monday. They arrived safely this afternoon. Meanwhile, the Bills were scheduled to have meetings, but told players to stay home with the travel bans in effect.
In the area where the Bills stadium, Highmark Stadium, is located, gusts were up to 50 miles per hour, with six inches of snow coming down each hour. While original estimates for snowfall were between one and three feet, the actual number will land between three and four feet of snow in those areas.