The following is a press release from MassDOT
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising the public against traveling as the National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snow rates per hour in the early afternoon today, Monday, February 1.
Snowfall rates may exceed one inch per hour on Monday afternoon and Monday night. The very strong winds will lead to blowing snow and greatly reduced visibility during the height of the storm.
“We urge the public to take this storm seriously because driving conditions will be difficult, with heavy snow falling at a fast rate and gusty winds expected,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “During the storm, we are advising the public to stay home and don’t drive if you don’t have to.”
“We are encouraging those workers who have the ability to work remotely to do so tomorrow,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “If you do have to be on the roads we urge you to plan ahead and to be off the roadways by mid-day. We expect roadways to become snow covered and slippery in the afternoon and through the evening with limited visibility and high winds as the storm progresses.”
MassDOT’s snow and ice operations will be deployed throughout the Commonwealth as conditions necessitate. Highway Districts continually conduct preparation activities in advance of new weather systems and are able to pretreat roadways with brine and Magnesium Chloride when necessary. In the most severe storms, MassDOT’s Highway Division is able to deploy up to 700 personnel to perform snow and ice removal operations to utilize more than 15,000 lane miles of roadway throughout the Commonwealth.
MassDOT has approximately 3,900 pieces of state and vendor equipment available for snow and ice operations and this includes over 1,400 plow and spreader combos, 2,100 plows, and 460 front-end loaders.
COVID-19 has had an impact on storm crew availability for the state and for some municipalities. MassDOT and cities and towns have changed their operating procedures to try and minimize as much as possible the spread of the virus, but crew shortages will mean possibly slower road plowing operations than normal on major and secondary roads.
Due to the storm, there will a ban imposed on travel on Monday by tractor trailers on I-90 between the hours of 10 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. Massachusetts State Police may also impose a speed restriction for motor vehicles of 40 m.p.h. on I-90 between specific interchanges if conditions warrant.
While the MBTA will make every effort to operate regularly scheduled weekday service during this storm, customers are urged to travel only if necessary.
Due to the snow, the MBTA will replace its 60-foot long, articulated buses running on routes with standard 40-foot buses. With heavy snow expected Monday afternoon, service on the Mattapan Trolley Line will be suspended at 3:00 p.m. This pro-active measure is taken in an effort to protect the 75-year old trolley cars that serve the line. Buses will provide replacement service.
The MBTA is advising customers to plan ahead and allow for additional travel time. T riders can get the latest information by visiting the MBTA website’s Winter Weather page and following the T on Twitter @MBTA as well as the Commuter Rail at @MBTA_CR where all service updates and the most up-to-date service information will be provided.
Customers are advised to use caution on station platforms and at bus stops, to wear warm clothing and face coverings.
MBTA emergency crews will be on standby throughout the storm to respond to instances of broken rail, issues affecting the power systems, potential switch problems, and any water-related issues that may occur.
MBTA Power Department crews will continue to inspect overhead wires on the Blue and Green Lines, looking for ice buildup. Ice-cutters, installed on Blue and Green Line vehicles, are designed to remove any ice buildup on the overhead wires.
The MBTA plans to position additional staff members throughout the system and the T’s snow-fighting equipment will be pre-deployed in key areas where it may be needed most. The T also has contractors “at the ready” for snow clearing along key bus routes and at T facilities to free up T employees to concentrate on core system functions. Among the contractors on standby are tree-cutting crews to remove and trees or branches that may interfere with service delivery.
Since 2015, the MBTA has made more than $100 million in equipment and infrastructure investments to prevent any service interruptions that could be caused by severe weather.
Registry of Motor Vehicle customer service centers will close at noon on Monday. Customers who have appointments for transactions or scheduled road tests Monday afternoon can go to mass.gov/RMV to reschedule.
If drivers go out on the roadways, they are advised to always wear seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cellphones and devote full attention to what is ahead on the road.