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traffic-camera-chelmsford-feb-2017MassDOT advises the public to avoid or minimize travel on Thursday as weather forecasters are expecting a winter weather event that could bring blizzard conditions and several inches of snow to parts of Massachusetts, with approximately one foot of accumulation possible in eastern areas of the state.

Snow is expected to develop during the early Thursday morning hours, as early as 2 a.m., in some locations, and continue throughout the day into the evening commute. The snow will increase in intensity during the day, and combined with wind, may make travel difficult due to poor visibility and snow on roadways.

“We are closely monitoring the winter weather that is expected to begin during the overnight hours and impact travel throughout the morning and evening commutes on Thursday,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Our snow and ice personnel will be treating and clearing our roadways and infrastructure as conditions warrant and we advise everyone to consider measures such as working from home, delaying travel plans, and if travel is mandatory, allowing extra time for commutes and dressing warmly.”

“Safety is our greatest priority and we encourage the public to avoid traveling on Thursday if at all possible and make smart choices if they are thinking of heading out onto the roadways,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Those who must travel and get behind the wheel should exercise safe driving habits, reduce their speeds, and give plenty of space to snow and ice equipment in order to safely reach their destinations.”

MassDOT’s snow and ice operations will be deployed as conditions necessitate. Crews are currently conducting preparation activities in advance of Thursday’s winter weather and will be pretreating the roadways at locations throughout the Commonwealth with brine and Magnesium Chloride. MassDOT is also currently planning deployments of snowplows and spreaders and maintenance equipment.

In the worst storms this season, MassDOT’s Highway Division will be able to utilize up to 700 staff members to perform snow and ice removal operations on more than 15,000 lanes miles of roadway throughout the Commonwealth. This snow and ice season, MassDOT will have approximately 4,200 pieces of state and vendor equipment available using over 150 depots and storage locations. This includes over 1,300 plow and spreader combos, 2,100 plows, and 460 front-end loaders.

If drivers must go out on the roadways, they are advised to drive the conditions, lower their speeds, give themselves extra time to reach their destinations, and remember MassDOT’s message, “Don’t Crowd the Plow.” MassDOT strongly urges drivers to always wear seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell-phones and devote their 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.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and 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. Pump brakes as you prepare to come to a full stop.  It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Bridge decks freeze before roadway surfaces leading up to them due to the difference in the exposure to air.
  • 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 travel at slow speeds.

Please review more information on safe winter driving.

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