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Winter Traffic Southborough, Feb 2018MassDOT is advising the public that weather forecasters are expecting a winter storm to impact travel across the Commonwealth beginning Saturday evening and continuing throughout Sunday.

Heavy wet snow is expected to begin falling on Saturday evening, transition to freezing rain and sleet in some areas on Sunday, and be followed by a flash freeze on Sunday afternoon and evening. The public is advised to minimize travel if possible, make smart decisions if driving, and be mindful of potentially hazardous travel conditions due to the mixture in various geographic locations of rain, ice, snow and sleet.

“We are encouraging members of the public to plan ahead and run any necessary errands today so they can minimize their travel tonight and Sunday and stay off the roadways during the worst of the storm,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Please check a weather forecast if you must travel as the forecast is specific to various areas of the state and calls for a mixture of precipitation, including snow and freezing rain. People who must travel should consider using public transportation, drive slowly and allow extra time to reach destinations.”

“MassDOT’s snow and ice crews are closely monitoring the weather and will be deployed throughout the weekend as needed,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This storm will bring sleet and freezing rain along with heavy, wet snow, and there may be periods of high snow accumulation which could lead to reduced visibility and hazardous travel conditions. We ask everyone to make smart decisions and avoid unnecessary trips to help ensure safety and allow our crews the space to clear and treat 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.

The MBTA is encouraging its customers to get service information by signing up for T-Alerts, following @MBTA and @MBTA_CRon Twitter, checking mbta.com/winter, and using the Transit app or the MBTA commuter rail app. New this season, the MBTA also launched a guide to winter, a customer-focused site that provides helpful service information.

Due to the weekend forecast, shuttle bus service replacement previously scheduled for this weekend on the Green Line D branch between Kenmore and Reservoir as well as evening shuttle bus service replacement previously scheduled for this Sunday on the Red Line between North Quincy and Braintree have been cancelled.

While regularly scheduled service is expected on all modes, the MBTA and Keolis closely monitor weather forecasts to assess expected and real-time conditions related to scheduled service and operations. Customers should stay as up-to-date as possible by checking all available communication channels. Commuter Rail customers will be notified in advance of any schedule changes, if any, with storm schedules all currently available on each line’s webpage on mbta.com. MBTA bus passengers are encouraged to check out mbta.com and snow routes. Customers are also encouraged to exercise caution while on snow-covered or icy bus stop areas and outdoor station platforms.

Since the winter of 2015, the MBTA has upgraded track and signal infrastructure, invested in snow-fighting equipment, and stocked up on replacement parts for vehicles, making more than $101 million in investments in winter resiliency. Last winter, the Boston area saw seventy inches of snow that included a challenging Nor’easter in January 2018 and four Nor’easters in March 2018 (three of which took place within less than two weeks) with the MBTA’s Storm Desk activated six times. There were no shutdowns or closures in MBTA service with snow-fighting equipment pre-deployed and staffing levels of the Storm Desk increased as needed.

For the most up-to-date information on transportation impacts, please follow on Twitter @MBTA, @MBTA_CR, @MassDOT, and @MassRMV.

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.

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