BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is cautioning drivers about travel today due to the forecast of periodic heavy rainfall and temperatures anticipated to drop to below freezing throughout the day. MassDOT roadside message boards today will include text: “flash freeze possible.”
For the last several days, MassDOT highway districts have been preparing for heavy rain and cold temperatures, anticipating flooding and icing on road surfaces. Crews have been cleaning drainage areas of debris and further pushing back snow piles from the shoulders of roads.
“The public should plan for very challenging driving conditions today,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, in a media release. “This forecast will mean a variety of dangerous situations may be encountered, including, low visibility on the road ahead, pooling of water on low lying paved surfaces and icy conditions when temperatures drop. Our advice is to, if possible, travel when conditions improve or take mass transit to reach destinations.”
MassDOT crews have been treating road surfaces in those areas where rain has stopped and will continue to do so until the threat of icing has passed. Drivers should proceed with caution because rain showers may wash away road salt and change to ice quickly. MassDOT is monitoring road conditions and as pavement temperatures continue to drop throughout the day, MassDOT anticipates deploying additional pieces of equipment.
In the worst storms this season, MassDOT’s Highway Division would 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 always wear seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell-phones and devote full attention to what is ahead on the road.