and other traffic throughout the Northeast part of the country
was shut down for much of this week after a record-breaking
snowstorm dumped roughly two feet of white on the region.
storm dumped 26 inches on New York City, making this month
the fourth-snowiest February on record, according to media
reports. Other areas also had record or near-record snowfalls,
including Boston, where the 27 inches of snowfall was the
most in 110 years, and Connecticut, where snowfall totals
ranged from 10 inches in East Lyme to 24 inches in New Fairfield.
storm locked up the Eastern Seaboard, first jamming, then
emptying snowpacked highways and shutting down virtually
in Connecticut were choked with traffic. Travelers on the
New Jersey Turnpike were down to 30 mph with most highways
emptied of truck traffic, Gail Toth, president of the New
Jersey Motor Truck Association, said.
don’t know where the truckers went,” Toth said, “but they
weren’t on the turnpike.”
mounds of snow blocked some streets and sidewalks and made
it hard to see around corners. Sidestreets were entirely
truckers, seeing forecasts of the coming storm, decided to
sit this one out. OOIDA members Bill and Cindy Klemm of Richfield
Springs, NY, were among them.
saw on the news and The Weather Channel that it was coming
in there,” Cindy said. Since the couple had worked hard the
previous week, they decided to stay home Monday and watch
the storm from the safety of their house. “Sometimes, that’s
the best way to go.”
when they did hit the road again, the Klemms saw plenty of
evidence of the storm’s effect on other truckers.
we did get going again, we saw these big tracks going into
the median, and big tracks going off to the side, and little
tracks going off to the side,” Cindy Klemm said. “We were
glad we sat still.”
few carriers who did move freight into New York City switched
their loads into smaller straight trucks, and many truckers
have been unable to deliver loads at all because their customers – along
with most other businesses in the region – have been closed.
Jersey Gov. James McGreevey declared a state of emergency,
giving police the power to close roads, The New York Times reported.
effort to dig out started immediately, but was hampered by
continuing snowfall, often topping 3 inches an hour.
state police responded to 165 storm-related accidents, 15
with injuries, The Hartford Courant reported, and
snowplow drivers in Connecticut worked 24 hours a day, often
Tuesday, things were better, but not by much.
Michael Bloomberg of New York City said most streets had
received attention from the city’s fleet of snowplows by
Tuesday, with a goal of plowing all streets by the end of
had lifted the state of emergency, but the plowing effort
had so drained state coffers – using $13 million of state
money – that he told The Times he would ask the Federal
Emergency Management Agency for funds to help the cost. The
state budgeted $14 million for snow removal but spent more
than $30 million.
highways in Connecticut were clear but wet by Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday, The Washington Post reported many government,
schools and other institutions were still closed in the nation’s
capital, and mass transit throughout the area and surrounding
region was working on a heavily modified schedule. The newspaper’s
traffic monitoring site reported only normal delays on area
highways by Wednesday, however, with its traffic cameras
showing light traffic on mostly clear roads at noon.
York and New Jersey were returning to some semblance of normal
as well. In the Garden State, most major interstates in the
state had at least two of three lanes clear and open to traffic.
sitting here in amazement,” Toth said. “By yesterday, everyone
was moving fine on the turnpike.”
have to applaud our DOT; I think they did a great job.”
Klemm said the highways by Feb. 19 were generally clear,
but many side streets and parking lots were still “pretty
interstates were good; we try to stay on them,” she said.
But in some places, plows had not yet cleared the entire
highway, leaving some lanes snow covered and the highway
truckers are still not out of the woods. Several states in
the region have laws that require snow on trucks to be removed,
and truckers who do not do so could face fines. And the roads
still hold hidden hazards.
roads are also still difficult to navigate in many areas,
according to reports from the trucking industry, local media
and other sources. Toth also warned that melted snow is refreezing
in the colder nighttime temperatures, leading to black ice
on some pavement.
had some bad situations with jackknifing,” she said.
said that Tuesday night, some of the bridges she and her
husband crossed had the “wet” look of black ice, but their
rig and other vehicles on the road didn’t seem to slide.
looked like black ice,” she said. “We slowed down and went
around them nice and easy, and nothing happened … It looked
spooky enough that everybody slowed down.”
addition, not all northeast states have been able to completely
clear their roads.
of the snow removal effort in Connecticut was impeded by
a lack of personnel to operate equipment. State officials
told The Courant the transportation department has
870 employees to operate roughly 650 pieces of equipment,
and that about 10 trucks were not being used because of personnel
shortages. The state even called out 242 private plowing
contractors to help in the effort.
said the best advice she and her husband could offer to other
truckers entering the area was to “slow down.”
more distance; people seem to forget that,” she said. “No
matter how many times you tell people, they still tailgate.
All of us tell each other on the CB radio … it does seem
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor