Commute on state highways and streets of Boston was slower than normal, officials say
The morning commute was slowed down in Boston and on state highways as the area recovers from the nor’easter that dumped more than two feet of snow on the region.
Snow, ice, and slush on several major highways caused minor accidents and frequent spinouts throughout the state, State Police said. Even though some commuter rail trains were delayed by as much as an hour early in the morning, transportation officials said MBTA trains were more reliable than the roads.
State Police closed Interstate 91 traveling southbound into Connecticut for much of the morning so that Connecticut workers could sand and salt the road.
“The condition of Route 91 in Connecticut has rapidly deteriorated with ice covering the roadway, creating havoc and numerous motor vehicle crashes,” a State Police statement said.
State Police spokesman Todd Nolan said the Springfield area in particular has seen many spinouts due to slippery road conditions.
Long stretches of Interstate 95 have also been problematic for commuters, he said. Troopers have responded to several car crashes resulting in minor injuries and numerous spinouts.
Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Thomas Tinlin said the MBTA was “the best mode of transportation” for commuters today, due to delays on the city’s major thoroughfares.
“Our major thoroughfares are open, although at decreased capacity, which means a slower commute,” he said.
The snow reduced roads that see heavy traffic during peak morning and afternoon travel times, like Summer Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard, from three lanes to two, Tinlin said.
MBTA commuters also experienced delays. Crews struggled to clear snow that was rapidly turning into slush as a light rain fell in some parts of the state, MBTA Commuter Rail spokesman Scott Farmelant said.
As of 10:35 a.m., the MBTA reported 30-45 minute delays on some Greenbush line trains. All other commuter rail lines seemed to be holding steady at 15-20 minute delays, according to MBTA alerts.
“What we’re seeing in terms of this morning is slow boarding, this is for safety reasons,” he said. “Commuter rail, because of the distances that it travels, little things can add up.”
The MBTA has snow busters and crews at 134 commuter rail stations clearing platforms and rails, Farmelant said.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the subway system was up and running.
He said the most significant delay was due to a suspicious package (described as a military style ammunition box) on the train platform at JFK/UMass Station. Red Line service was delayed while the Boston Police bomb squad investigated.
Pesaturo said, “despite a blizzard that crippled the area less than 48 hours ago, America’s oldest subway was fully operational this morning, providing safe and reliable service to tens of thousands of customers.”
He said there have been some delays but no significant service interruptions.
Green Line trains to Heath Street have been replaced with buses beyond Brigham Circle and the T is also substituting buses for all Mattapan trolleys throughout the day, MBTA alerts said.
The MBTA reported 10-15 minute delays on Orange Line trains this morning.Todd Feathers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.