Winter weather causes more than 50 accidents in Worcester

Worcester, MA- The snowstorm caused slippery roads, spin-outs and accidents in Worcester on Sunday.  According to city police, officers were called out to more than 50 accidents.  A declared parking ban to keep residents from parking on the streets was issued for 8:00 pm Sunday night.

“There wasn’t a lot of snow, but the first quarter inch when it fell, was very slick. This snow, the smaller events can cause problems, because when you forecast a foot of snow people would’ve been off the roads,” stated Worcester’s Deputy Commissioner of DPW and Parks.

William A. Coyle is the Deputy Commissioner of Worcester’s Department of Public Works and Parks.  Coyle told Boston 25 News, ”for this particular event, we did not pre-treat. We just came off the city’s leaf collection program, all our trucks need to be switched over to pre-treat.”  City leaders say the traffic and holiday shoppers made their jobs that much more difficult compared to if there was a foot of snow, drivers would likely have stayed off the roads altogether.

Edy De’Oliveira of Worcester was one of the unlucky ones involved in a fender bender on Franklin Street in Worcester around 4:30 Sunday afternoon.  Boston 25 News spoke with De’Oliveira as he waited nearly 90 minutes for police to arrive.

“I never had an accident. Someone crossed the red light and I couldn’t stop either, it happens. First snow. Big truck,” De’Oliveira added.

The Mass Pike saw its fair share of back-ups, accidents and first responders racing to help in either direction.  Boston 25 News caught up with drivers at a rest stop along the highway.

Luke Hartley of Virginia pulled over on his way to see his in-laws in Princeton, New Jersey. Mass DOT officials say there is a 40-mile-an-hour speed restriction on the Mass Pike between the New York State border and mile marker 21.  The state deployed approximately 500 pieces of equipment in storm operations across the Commonwealth.  Massachusetts State Police have restricted specialty-permitted tractor-trailers and tandem tractor-trailers on Interstate 90 between New York State and mile marker 55.

“It’s a little bit slick, seems like some people aren’t being as careful as they need to, causing some fender and causing a few fender benders, doesn’t seem too bad.”

Julien Strong of Hamden, Connecticut pulled off the highway to check for air pressure in the tires. “Little slippery, I pulled in because my low pressure light came on, filling up the tires.  I grew up in Boston so I’m used to driving in the snow.”

Snow totals were under two inches back in Worcester, where 35 DPW crews kept loading up on rock salt throughout the night.

“We got out early in the storm to try and minimize any issues you know again with traffic on roads, share of accidents,” added Deputy DPW Commissioner Coyle. 

Boston 25 News asked whether not pre-treating the roads contributed to the accidents, of which Deputy Commission Coyle responded, “It’s hard to say out there as quick as could roads icing up. The first quarter of an inch was slick and the amount of traffic.”

The city typically goes through 16,000 tons of rock salt in one year according to Coyle.  He said the prices are up about 20-percent in 2022.  For comparison purposes, adding in 2021 a ton of rock salt cost the city of Worcester $62.00 a ton compared to $75.00 a ton this year.

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