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Tropical Storm Irene: Mass. State Police Road Reports

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Flooded Quinsigamond Ave in Worcester (credit: Edward Chamorro)

Flooded Quinsigamond Ave in Worcester (credit: Edward Chamorro)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts State Police Troops are providing updates on the roads across the state during Tropical Storm Irene.

Read: Tropical Storm Irene Commuter Guide

They’re urging drivers to stay off the roads and to ride the storm out in a safe, secure location.

Here are the latest regional reports, courtesy of State Police spokesman David Procopio.

Metropolitan Boston

Right lane closed on Nonantum Road inbound in Brighton near North Beacon Circle for a wire down. Otherwise, no significant issues.

All previous sites of flooding, including Morrissey Boulevard, Storrow Drive, Memorial Drive and other Boston roadways, have been cleared and all other roads are open.

Massachusetts Turnpike

Several locations on the Massachusetts Turnpike that had been closed have reopened. These include:

-The Prudential Center exit, which had been closed as a result of a downed tree on Huntington Avenue. The tree has been removed.

-A point on the Pike eastbound in Newton, where a downed tree spread across all lanes. That tree has been removed.

-A point eastbound on the Framingham-Natick line, where a downed tree blocked the right and breakdown lanes. That tree has been removed.

-Flooding across part of the westbound side of the Pike in Becket caused by overflow from a beaver dam located along the side of the highway. That situation has been remedied to the pint where only the breakdown lane continues to be impacted.

Logan Airport

Logan International Airport is open. One flight recently landed and another is planning to depart soon.

Southeastern Massachusetts

No significant issues, although wind gusts are still approaching 60 mph.

Northeastern Massachusetts

Patrols are reporting light rain and wind conditions. The State Police Barracks in Revere reports that flood gates have been closed to prevent storm surge flooding on Winthrop Parkway in Revere. We have deployed one of our amphibious tracked vehicles to the Newbury Barracks for deployment as needed. That location was chosen for its vicinity to Plum Island. We have a dedicated patrol assigned solely to the Salisbury Beach Reservation area. All other barracks are rolling at least three patrols. Additionally, four Troop A Community Action Team patrlols are on duty in the Winthrop-Revere-Lynn-Nahant stretch of coast. No significant weather-related incidents ongoing at this time. Troopers from the Revere Barracks responded to a serious hit-and-run car v. pedestrian crash on Route 16 in Chelsea early this morning. At this point that crash is not believed to have been weather-related.

Central Massachusetts

-Marlborough Police have requested State Police assistance in patrolling the town due to power outages that may last for three days. MSP is sending one supervisor and three troopers to assist.

-Road closures are still in place on Route 20 in Sturbridge at the site of Yankee Candle and Route 20 in Charlton by Bay Path College. In both locations, the flooding is going to have to recede before roads can be reopened.

-Troopers from the Belchertown Barracks are on-scene where power lines are down on Route 9 on the Amherst/Belchertown line. Power lines are also down on Route 202 in the same general area. That situation is expected to be resolved within an hour or so.

Western Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Police are shutting down Route 91 between Sunderland and Greenfield because of swollen conditions on the Deerfield River as a result of the torrential rains and an issue involving a dam facility in the northwestern Massachusetts town of Rowe.

The facility in question, which has both an upper dam and a lower dam, is a power-generating facility. Late this morning, the upper dam released a large volume of water, which then flowed down toward the lower dam, known as the Bear Swamp Dam. That dam was not able to handle that amount of water, and released water into the Deerfield River, causing its level to rise. The Deerfield River runs through approximately seven communities before joining the Connecticut River. In Deerfield, it passes under Route 91 at the Stillwater Bridge. Emergency management officials are concerned that the overloaded river may cause flooding on Route 91, causing the shutdown of that significant north-south corridor between Sunderland and Greenfield, a stretch of several miles. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard are establishing a command post at Greenfield Community College. Please refer to them regarding any potential evacuations along the river.

There were also reports of breaching of the Big Robin Dam in Sherwood Forest in Becket. A trooper and the Becket fire chief examined that dam and did not locate any breach. The integrity of that dam is still being evaluated.

Troop B personnel have been coordinating with officials from both dam sites, and are preparing appropriate responses in the event necessary.

In consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, State Police will keep the stretch of Route 91 containing the Still Water Bridge in Deerfield closed to allow divers to check the bridge’s mooring in the Deerfield River. The roadway will definitely be closed tomorrow and it may in fact be multiple days before the waters recede enough to allow divers in to check that area. This is a significant issue because Route 91 is major thoroughfare for transport of commerce to Canada, as well as an evacuation route for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.

In other western Massachusetts State Police news, members of the department’s Special Emergency Response Team have been deployed to the towns of Shelburne and Buckland to assist local police and fire departments with post-storm efforts.

There are numerous sections of flooded roadway in this region as well. These sections are still closed because of flooding:

  • Route 8 on the Otis/Sandisfield line
  • Route 8 in North Adams
  • Route 8A in Charlemont
  • Route 2 in Charlemont
  • Route 2 in Florida
  • Route 9 in Williamsburg
  • Route 20 on the Becket/Chester line
  • Route 20 in Westfield near the Russell line
  • Route 112 in Buckland
  • Route 112 in Huntington, and
  • Route 23 in Otis

Additionally:

-The State Police Marine Section is en route to Troop B Headquarters in Northampton with three vessels and personnel and will be ready for deployment.

-The State Police Fleet Section is also en route to Troop B Headquarters with two additional Small Unit Support all-terrain vehicles (SUS-Vs), to complement the one SUS-V that had already be pre-positioned there.

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