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March 16, 2013

Ice closes sections of N.H. highways

The first day of spring is Wednesday, but winter just doesn't want to let go of New Hampshire.

N.H. State Police reported "a major snow and ice event" overnight forced the closure of sections of Interstates 93 and 89 north and west of Concord.

Officers from Troop D, B and F, as wells as State Liquor Enforcement officers, responded to an "overwhelming" number of accidents from 8:30 last night into the early morning hours today.

There were nearly 50 incidents in a four-hour period, police said. There were few injuries, but several people were treated for minor injuries.

Police closed I-89 in Sutton and I-93 in New Hampton and Concord for a time because the roads were so icy. State Department of Transportation crews were called in to treat those sections of highway.

"The New Hampshire State Police would like to remind motorists to always use caution when driving at night during the winter months as road and weather conditions can be unpredictable," a release issued this morning said.

Closer to the coast, police closed a stretch of Interstate 95 north at the Piscataqua River Bridge in Portsmouth due to ice. That section of highway became impassable just before 1 a.m., police said.

The bridge iced over and several vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, were stuck, unable to navigate the road, police said. Troop A closed I-95 in that area until the road could be treated. I-95 reopened at 1:51 a.m., only to be closed again from 1:59 to 2:09 this morning so road crews could attack the icy surfaces again. DOT crews from New Hampshire and Maine responded.

Then, at 2:18 a.m., the driver of a 2008 Peterbilt 384 lost control near Exit 5 on I-95 south in Portsmouth, slid off the highway, broke through the guardrail and flipped over.

One of the truck's gas tanks ruptured and some 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled. The driver, Johnson Corrielus, 35, of Milton, Mass., was not injured, according to police.

Police said the right travel lane and the breakdown lane had to be closed for several hours so the diesel spill could be cleaned up.

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