EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 1, 2013

Snow blowing on roads leads to black ice, crashes

Black ice was to blame for several accidents on local highway ramps yesterday morning, police said.

The State Police in Andover and Newbury were busy responding to spinouts and disabled cars on ramps leading to and from interstates 93 and 495 throughout the morning commute.

Fortunately, yesterday was a light traffic day due to New Year’s Eve and many people having the day off from work. Police reported no injuries as a result of the accidents, which took place mostly between about 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Around 7:30 a.m., a car went off the road on the ramp from I-495 south to Route 114 east and had to be pulled back onto the road by a tow truck.

Around the same time, a car was reported off the road at I-495 and Route 125 in Haverhill.

There was a spinout on the River Road exit ramp from I-93 South around 8 a.m. Another accident was reported at the same location a short time later.

About the same time, a spinout was reported on the Lowell Connector off I-495. The car was pulled back onto the road by a tow truck.

A three-car crash on the ramp from I-495 south to Route 213 west was a result of black ice, according to state police. At least two cars were towed from the scene, but there were no injuries.

State police called in the state Department of Transportation to put sand on the Route 213 ramp and other area ramps.

“We have had crews out treating slick spots in the Merrimack Valley this morning,” said Mass. DOT spokeswoman Sara Lavoie. “Our roads and ramps were dry, but the blowing snow and snow falling from vehicles can cause the pavement to glaze. It is important for motorists to remember to be extra cautious on bridges and when taking on and off ramps this time of year.”

Mass. DOT annually issues safe winter-driving tips, including noting that “bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road. Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.”

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