EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 20, 2013

Editorial: Plow performance needs improvement

Tuesday afternoon’s snowstorm turned the evening commute into a nightmare across the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire. While the storm’s timing was terrible, road crews across the region could have done a better job.

Drivers across the region are complaining about the awful road conditions that turned commutes that normally run a half-hour or so into hours-long white-knuckle adventures. Speeds on Interstate 93 in Southern New Hampshire were down to 5 mph as drivers struggled to find the travel lanes.

“I saw a salt truck out and he got off at Exit 4 and his plow was up and there were two spinouts, both around the Windham-Derry area,” Shaun Dorrington posted on Facebook. “New Hampshire troopers were helping drivers. It was a mess and that was around 4 p.m.”

“It took my daughter almost two hours to travel from Concord Hospital to Derry,” Debby McGrath said on Facebook. “She said it was her worst trip ever.”

In Lawrence, a police officer out on patrol at about 9 p.m. Tuesday described the road conditions as “too terrible to be driving” — except for all-terrain vehicles, whose drivers were brazen as they made numerous illegal recreational rides on the city’s snow-covered major roads.

“They’ve been wreaking havoc all night and nobody can catch them,” the officer said.

Police were unable to catch the illegal riders — until one plowed into a snowbank and wrecked his ATV.

The weekend storm that dumped 10 inches of snow across the region was a picnic by comparison. Crews had the roads well prepared and the lack of commuter traffic made clearing streets and highways easy.

But Tuesday’s storm really ramped up around 4 p.m. and continued late into the evening. Drivers who did not heed warning to leave work early found themselves crawling along snow-packed roads with plows unable to get through.

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