Noreaster slams most of Vermont
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | March 20,2013
Len Emery Photo
A tractor-trailer lies twisted off the side of Interstate 91 north in Springfield, one of many Vermont accidents reported in Tuesday’s snowstorm. The driver was not injured, nor were the drivers in four other tractor-trailer crashes.
More than a foot of snow fell across much of the state Tuesday as Vermont and its neighbors find themselves exceeding their snow-removal budgets for the winter.
The severe winter storm began late Monday night, and by Tuesday morning, snowfall totals ranged from 1 inch in Rutland to 7 inches in Springfield. After a brief midmorning respite, a second round of snow came across the Hudson Valley and dropped another 2 to 4 inches across the state.
Kimberly McMahon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Burlington, expected more snow to fall overnight into Wednesday morning.
“For the rest of today and into tomorrow, there will be snow showers in the early evening, with overnight accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and more in the higher elevations,” McMahon said Tuesday. “Tomorrow, things will be tapering off in the valleys, with half an inch to an inch of snow and more in the mountains.”
Tuesday’s snow resulted in at least five tractor-trailer crashes, three of which blocked all travel until they could be moved. No serious injuries were reported.
Around 11 a.m., a tractor-trailer jackknifed on Route 9 in Brattleboro, blocking both lanes just east of the Vermont State Police Barracks.
The second round of snow in the afternoon caused tractor-trailer crashes and closed Interstate 89 to all northbound traffic just south of exit 10 in Waterbury, as well as Route 103 in east Wallingford.
At 1:47 p.m., a tractor-trailer lost control while headed north on Interstate 91 in Springfield, struck a guardrail and overturned, blocking one of the lanes of travel and causing delays.
Another tractor-trailer went off the road on Route 9 in Marlboro. State police expected that area — at the intersection of Route 9 and Adams Cross Road, between Auger Hole Road and Butterfield Road and east of Hogback Mountain — would be closed to all traffic for one or two hours beginning at 9 a.m. today to allow for removal of the tractor-trailer.
The storm is also affecting state budgets.
Vermont is already over budget for snow removal this winter, according to Scott Rogers, director of the operations division for the Agency of Transportation.
“It’s a little early to say if we’re going to have to cut back on any summer projects,” Rogers said.
“If we don’t get another storm, we’re going to be OK,” he added.
About one-third of the AOT’s $69 million budget is designated for snow removal. Prior to this storm, the state had spent $23.7 million and used 110,000 tons of salt to keep the roads clear. Last winter, the state spent $19.5 million and used 84,500 tons of salt.
The neighboring states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts are similarly over budget for the winter.
Usually, New Hampshire plans to spend around $39 million on snow removal.
“Last winter, we spent $32 million on snow removal. This year, it’s looking more like $45 million,” said Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
Massachusetts, which has been pummeled particularly hard this winter, is even further over budget.
“Massachusetts DOT has spent $84 million on snow and ice this season and that amount is expected to rise as wintry weather continues and we receive deliveries of materials and call on our plow truck vendors,” said Sara Lavioe, press secretary for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
“Beacon Hill is aware that we have exceeded the $45.5 million budgeted for snow and ice removal which makes a supplemental budget likely in our future. Spring may be here, but we all know that does not necessarily mean the end to plowing and treating roadways.”