EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 19, 2013

Highway crews get bad reviews after storm

Long commutes, poor road conditions lead to lots of complaints

(Continued)

“Every storm is different,” Fowler said.

The weekend storm came when people didn’t have to commute to work and could stay home.

“There weren’t as many cars out,” Fowler said.

Then crews had a whole day to get roads and sidewalks ready for the work week.

People could see the difference.

“They definitely did a better job with the weekend storm,” Beth Doherty said on Facebook.

The storm Tuesday struck just as people started heading home for the day and left crews about 16 hours to deal with snowy roads.

“The key factor in this situation is the timing,” Fowler said.

Salem public works director Rick Russell agreed.

“The timing of the storm was not the best,” Russell said.

Weather conditions and traffic combined for a slow commute, DOT spokesman William Boynton said.

“Bad timing with schools letting out and businesses letting employees go home early,” he said.

Despite the travel hassle there were no major accidents on Interstate 93 south of Manchester, he said.

Russell sent Salem crews out in the middle of the commute, when usually he might let commuters do their thing.

“We did make a conscious decision to plow starting at 5 o’clock during the commute,” Russell said.

Cold limited the effectiveness of salt Tuesday, with temperatures staying around 15 degrees, Fowler said.

Boynton agreed.

“Snow was accompanied by colder temperatures, 14 to 16 degrees, making salt less effective,” he said.

The cleanup also is continuing, even though the storm is over.

Fowler said sidewalk plows continued their rounds during the day yesterday.

The priority in any storm are the roads, making sure they are safe for travel, he said.

It doesn’t make sense to start with sidewalks when snow is still being pushed back from the roads, he said.

The cleanup isn’t over in Derry. Crews will be working the streets again today.

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