FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — In an address from the MEMA emergency operations center at noon Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker thanked MassDOT and MBTA officials for their work during the Nor’easter and warned drivers to continue to stay off the roads.
“Fortunately, traffic on the roads and ridership on the T have both been light, and I just want to say how much we appreciate everyone staying home and off the roads as this storm continues to work its way across the Commonwealth,” Baker said.
The bulk of the snow was set to fall in the afternoon and early evening, he said, with snow falling in the east until after 9 p.m. Snow totals were expected to range from 15-20 inches in some areas.
“Please avoid all travel,” Baker said. “And if you must, please allow the snow removal teams to safely do their jobs.”
That includes giving plow drivers enough space to operate.
“Have we said that often enough? Don’t crowd the plows,” Baker said.
The governor reminded people that, once the snowfall was over, the temperature would go down into the single-digits, with the wind chill bringing it below zero. He said people should continue to be cautious after the storm, because wind gusts of 40-50 mph were expected to cause snow drifts.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said that MBTA buses and trains, as well as the Commuter Rail, were operating on regular schedules and had not experienced significant delays so far. She said about 300 pieces of snow equipment were out on the roads fighting the storm, and that planning for Friday morning’s rush hour were already underway.
She said MBTA ferry systems were closing in the middle of the day, but would resume service at 3:25 p.m. to get those who came in on them in the morning home.
Baker and Pollack assured the public that the MBTA was much better prepared for winter than they were two years ago.
“Almost all of the above-ground third rail that powers both the red line and the orange line was replaced after the storms of 2015,” said Baker.
Pollack said the vehicle fleet may be the same as it was two years ago–and two years older–but she said that as an agency, the T was more ready.
“This is really our opportunity to put all those pieces into place–the new procedures, the new equipment, and the upgraded infrastructure,” she said.
After the briefing, Baker said he was headed to the DOT headquarters in South Boston.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports