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Public advised to use caution and make informed travel decisions
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising the public that forecasters are predicting winter weather conditions across the Commonwealth from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. Snowfall is expected to begin later Thursday afternoon, transition to sleet and freezing rain during the evening and overnight hours, and continue through Friday morning. Travelers are advised to use caution and be mindful of poor visibility and flash freezing, and make informed travel decisions.
(The latest total snowfall forecast from the National Weather Service.)
“We are encouraging everyone to minimize driving during the storm this evening and into tomorrow morning,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This storm may have brief periods of heavy snowfall which will mean poor visibility for drivers. Commuters should also have a plan for travel tomorrow morning, as there may be flash freezing overnight as temperatures drop. As always we encourage the public to keep an eye on the forecast, allow extra time if you must travel, and if driving to please reduce speeds and give plenty of space to crews which are out plowing and treating the roadways.”
MassDOT’s snow and ice operations will be deployed throughout the Commonwealth as conditions necessitate. Crews are currently conducting preparation activities in advance of the winter weather and will be pretreating roadways with brine and Magnesium Chloride. MassDOT is also currently planning deployments of snowplows and spreaders and maintenance equipment.
In the worst storms, MassDOT’s Highway Division is able to utilize up to 700 personnel to perform snow and ice removal operations on more than 15,000 lane miles of roadway throughout the Commonwealth. This winter, MassDOT will have approximately 3,900 pieces of state and vendor equipment available throughout the duration of winter storms using over 150 depots and storage locations. This includes over 1,400 plow and spreader combos, 2,100 plows, and 460 front-end loaders.
If drivers must go out on the roadways, they are advised to always wear seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell-phones and devote full attention to what is ahead on the road.
For updates on road and traffic conditions in Massachusetts, drivers can:
- Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
- Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
- Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
Other important winter driving tips include:
- Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights, even the hood and roof, before driving, (start with the tailpipe).
- Leave plenty of room for stopping.
- Remember that the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
- Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
- Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
- Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.
- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.
- Seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.
- Most importantly please remember to slow down.
Please review more information on safe winter driving.