Travel slowly returning to normal in Northeast

Travel slowly returning to normal in Northeast

The blizzard that dumped up to 40 inches of snow in parts of the Northeast last Friday/Saturday is anything but a memory for many in the Northeast. With unplowed streets, power outages and general frustration among residents, Nemo, the blizzard of 2013, left its mark.

And while parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were expected to see another 3 to 8 inches of snow today, according to the Weather Channel, much of the region was still trying to dig itself out.

The storm certainly took its toll on trucking, stranding thousands of vehicles throughout the Northeast as states closed roads and declared states of emergencies. New York, Maine and New Jersey have received hours-of-service waivers from FMCSA for petroleum deliveries.

The issues were compounded in Connecticut this morning when the Connecticut State Police closed a 10-mi. stretch of I-91 just north of Hartford due to icing. That highway has since reopened.

“They wanted to stop traffic so they could apply ice,” said Michael Riley, president of the Motor Transport Assn. of Connecticut.

Riley said most of the major highways in Connecticut are in good shape this morning, but local roads in many communities are still snow-covered, or in some cases, not even plowed.

“I was talking to the [Connecticut] Dept. of Transportation (CTDOT) and all weekend they were trying to tell people to stay off the roads,” he added. “Tomorrow is a state employee holiday [so there won’t be many people on the roads]. If they have empty roads, they can do what they have to do to clear them.”

Riley added that in Connecticut there is an informal agreement regarding hauling doubles in storms.

“We have voluntarily agreed with [CTDOT] and the industry not to send out twin trailers during storms like this,” Riley said. “For the most part, this was followed.”

“The local roads are a mess,” Riley noted. “We’ve had snowplows get stuck…The CTDOT guys told me they couldn’t push snow anymore because of the wall of snow and they had to get payloaders to move it.”

Once President Barack Obama issued a declaration of emergency in the state, that exempted construction contractors with large payloader equipment from hours-of-service regulations so they could relocate the equipment as needed for snow removal, said Donald Bridge Jr., lieutenant, with the CT Dept. of Motor Vehicles Commercial Vehicle Safety Division.

During the height of the storm, though, one issue that arose was truck parking. As Gov. Dannel Malloy closed all the highways, trucks quickly filled up available spaces.

Rhode Island, which saw large power outages, fared the storm fairly well, according to Chris Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Assn.

“They’ve done a great job,” Maxwell said of the road-clearing efforts. “The governor ordered all vehicles off the roads on Friday. Now they are following up with snow removal.”

According to Maxwell, Interstate 95 and 295 and State Route 146, the three major arteries in the state, are all in good shape as of this morning.

New York got spared the worst of the blizzard where “only” a foot or so of snow fell, but Kendra Adams, president of the New York Motor Truck Assn., said Suffolk County was in tough shape with a state of emergency declared there as a result.

I-84 was closed for a time, she said, but that has since reopened.

In most New England states, the National Guard has been activated to assist with everything from cleanup to emergency services. In total, 2,295 troops are assisting, according to Military News.

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