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Ice causes mega-crash in Worcester, tons of smaller crashes elsewhere outside 128

Crash on 290 in Worcester

Just the tail end of the crash. Photo by Mass. State Police.

Take a look at this video of the aftermath of a multiple-vehicle crash on I-290 in Worcester around 7:00 a.m.

State Police shut the Lowell Connector entirely due to ice.

Wellesley Police are also reporting a number of crashes.

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New South Huntington story in 3....2.....1.....

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nor, apparently, the roads in salt.

These conditions were entirely predictable, and, in fact, were predicted for last night and early this a.m. - particularly for Worcester County. Also, this looks like one of the many elevated portions of I-290 through town - certainly one of the first to ice up in conditions like this.

I'm a little surprised that MassDOT (which I think is usually pretty good about road treatment) has not performed well today - it's a pretty busy travel day. I have to wonder whether there was some notion of "waiting to see" since it's a Sunday and there might be elevated costs associated with dispatching crews (although, that really shouldn't be, because MassDOT should have all requirements contracts in place for X amount of events regardless of when they occur). Anyone know how that gets handled in the highway division?

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And also there is a major CSX freight railyard nearby, those dudes need the roads salted or its jacknife city !

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MASSDOT got caught with its pants down here. They have brine trucks ... they should have had folks out last night with them.

You have to salt before the moisture hits, preferably with the brines. That's what they do in areas where this sort of ice is common (such as British Columbia). You can't melt freezing rain over that much of an area by pouring salt over it after the fact. It simply doesn't work, and then your plow trucks get to go skating away.

Ice from a Silver Thaw event is a much different beast from packed snow or patches of black ice.

This is why, if you ever want to drive I-80, I-84 or I-90 out west any time from the beginning of October to the end of April, you will have to buy yourself some tire chains. There are places where you will be required to put them on or get off the road.

Then there is the "general public" who will throw fits about "what was all this salt making my car diiiirrrtttyyy???? when the weather shifts at the last minute. Anyone remember that from last year? When they did do the right thing and got whined at about it when the weather shifted? Yeah, that. Hard to generate a systematic program when people won't tolerate the fact that weather doesn't take its orders from the people who do a pretty damn good job of predicting it.

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who also complain about salting roads so people won't get hurt or die. Ah the days when the sides of vehicles were all powdery white from salt...

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Because dumping salt everywhere wastes a lot of money.

But those bridges on I-93 just fell down to spite you. No salt involved.

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That you actually google the subject or read anything. Oh no.

http://mcspolicycenter.umaine.edu/files/2010/02/Winter-Road-Maint-Final.pdf

For those who care to actually learn something.

Oh, and the good old days of replacing your car every 3 years ... Oh yeah. Such a shame that you old fart salt lovers didn't seem to want to actually pay for your salty roads and didn't pay to maintain infrastructure damaged by thoughtless salt use. Now we all get to pay.

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"Chloride salts are currently the most effective and economical material for maintaining safe, passable winter roads. Salts corrode vehicles, affect infrastructure, and compromise water quality; these are the additional costs of winter mobility and safety."

"Maine Winter Operations
• We estimate statewide expenditures for winter road maintenance in 2008-09 (state and
municipal) at $98 million, or $76 per capita.
• We estimate that 490,000 tons of rock salt were purchased in 2008-09 in Maine. This is
roughly 750 pounds for every Maine resident, or 21 tons per road mile. "

Mass probably uses a small fraction of 21 tons per road mile every winter. Bridges freeze first, unfortunately making them need the most salting. Maintenance is is fact of life.

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Officials reported pretreating the roadway an hour before the mass collision.

Now the Maine document makes more sense - the feds have advocated pretreating with salt or brine and drastic reduction of sand and salt-sand mix. So, the likely cause of the mess was ineffective/inadequate salting and the omission of sand.

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heh heh heh heh too much too much way too much

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I've never heard of anyone complaining because a road was salted and then the storm didn't materialize. Cite?

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Right here on this very site: Citizen complaint of the day: Let it salt, let it salt, let it salt. Now, granted, we're talking secondary roads, not interstates, but still.

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Oh, come on now! It's been months and months since we've had icy roads. The DOT simply forgot what to do.

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speed, no doubt. While I know it is hard, impossible even to drive safely on all sheet of ice, it's even harder when you believe television commercials that tell you your pickup truck/SUV/European luxury auto can handle anything Mother Nature sends your way - no need to slow down, just plow through the frozen tundra and turn up the radio.

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Going isnt the problem, its the stopping !

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There is no speed slow enough on a sheet of ice unless studded tires or chains are in use. I encountered these conditions one time. I was able to go very slowly only because I had two tires on the rough shoulder, and then, even that wasn't enough as I started moving straight ahead, but sideways. I eventually got over and stopped with others. People were getting out of their cars and falling directly on their ass from the road being too slippery to stand or walk.

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this is why i can't stand hearing people complain about how some drivers are so slow on the road when it rains - because it's easier than filing an insurance report.

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Rain and ice are not equivalent. If you're dragging ass because of a little rain when it's well above freezing then you are a problem.

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By "dragging ass" do you mean going the speed limit?
Stopping distance is dramatically reduced in rain. Hydroplaning begins around 30-35 mph.

I bet you're the guy who runs the red light just to get 20 feet ahead.
You're the prick that passes in the slow lane bombing at 85 mph.
Without a doubt, you're the douchebag who honks at pedestrians.

I won't give you the dignity of being called a Masshole. You're just an asshole, plain and simple.

Pileups like these are caused by YOU. Someone carefully driving down the road is a model citizen, NOT a problem. YOU are a problem because you think you're more important than the greater good, and would rather risk peoples' safety over having any patience. Fuck off, dick..

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You can make up all the things you want but no amount of wishing and hoping will make them true. I don't do any of the things you describe. You might want to look in to some anger management.

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If you have ever hydroplaned, as I did once in a Kharmann Ghia, on the NY Thruway 35 years ago, you will never forget the terror and you will always drive carefully and slowly in the rain.

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Carefully and slowly are not necessarily synonyms. Just because I was speaking against one extreme, it doesn't necessarily follow that I advocate the opposite extreme. As I said, "a little rain" and "well above freezing." I've witnessed far too often the slower drivers completely mishandle when the rain gets heavier by abruptly slamming on the brakes when they realize they've encountered a puddle. This is the opposite of careful and safe. This is a great way to cause hydroplaning and possibly a multiple car accident.

Of course I would recommend caution in the rain but varying degrees of rain call for varying degrees of speed reduction. You get many people who use a few drops falling from the sky who use that as an excuse to slow down the left lane(s) significantly because, in their heads, we've just dropped in to a state of emergency. This was my original point, just speaking against those who take things to an extreme and make things more dangerous (with the aforementioned brake slamming) when the rain actually picks up or cause backups in light rain.

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Too many people experience brain freeze even in daytime rain. Often they have no clue what the safe operating limits are for their vehicle and tires. Everybody ought to go to an empty parking lot, find and exceed the limits of their vehicle in dry, wet, and snow so they know what the limits are, especially for when emergency reactions are required.

Proper tires don't hydroplane below 60mph. Race slicks not approved for street use can hydroplane along with hard, old, bald tires unsafe at any speed.

Invest in your safety. Snow tires for winter and sticky summer tires for the other 3 seasons. Is your or your passengers' life worth getting an extra 20,000 miles out of a set of tires? Not for me. Soft grippy tires in summer and even softer, siped tires in winter for me. Just keep in mind that trucks and other vehicles behind you are usually less well equipped.

Concrete roads have the best wet grip (and longevity), but people whine about the higher noise than asphalt. Steel polished by traffic and thermoplastic road markings are slippery and dangerous.

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MarkKKKKKK is willing to pay for the full cost of excessive salting of the roadways.

He therefore supports a gasoline tax of $1.25 a gallon to do proper maintenance to keep up with indiscriminate throwing of salt everywhere by DOT.

Because that is what it costs.

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I might pay that much if it actually all went to infrastructure only for use by those paying for it - the gasoline users. Not for bike anything, T anything, or streetscaping.

Blame the fed DOT for advocating a slight increase of salt use combined with a huge decrease in sand use. Brine solution is 35% salt, so probably got washed away during the hour or so interval before the megacrash. Pure salt, or perhaps combined with sand could have prevented the event and resulting costs to individuals and insurance we pay into.

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I could probably dig some stuff off my late father's hard drives, but I'm not sure what is rough drafts and what is proprietary.

I do know that your "brine got washed away" is pure ignorant b.s. Brine is far more likely to stick to the road and soak into the surface where it is directly applied, while rock salt is much more difficult to distribute evenly and requires far more salt for far more environmental and financial impact.

Check out the Environment Canada website on best practices: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/bmps/roadsalt.html
http://www.ec.gc.ca/sels-salts/default.asp?lang=En&n=CBE1C6ED-1
http://www.ec.gc.ca/sels-salts/default.asp?lang=En&n=45D464B1-1

Oh, but next you will tell us how the Canadians don't know about snow. Heh. (Note: British Columbia includes some of the Cascade Range as well as the Canadian Rockies).

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tend to get blown or washed away more easily than brine or salt do, especially on higher speed roads like I-290. Plus, sand buildup actually has far greater environmental consequences than salt buildup does. Hence the current FHWA and AASHTO recommendations against such use, and why the majority of state DOTs greatly limit its use.

A good example of the relative ineffectiveness of straight sand or a sand/salt mixture that mostly consists of sand to treat icy roads was demonstrated in a 2003 crash on Interstate 95 in Fairfield, Connecticut - http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2005/HAR0503.pdf

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