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MassDOT: Snowfall Intensity, Rush Hour Traffic Slowed Down Plows

BOSTON (CBS) – There were plenty of people late for work and school Friday morning and many of them were angry with meteorologists and plow crews.

More snow came than expected and area highways and side roads weren't plowed enough for the morning rush hour, which led to several delays and traffic jams across the Boston metro area.

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Plow drivers told WBZ-TV's David Robichaud in Foxboro they had a difficult time keeping ahead of the storm there, where more than 14 inches of snow fell.

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Many towns first delayed school, then decided later to cancel classes for the day because the roads were so bad.

"Well, we had equipment out from (Thursday) afternoon continuously throughout the night, but the snowfall intensity is hitting us right during the morning commute which is probably the worst conditions for us keeping the road clear," Frank DePaola, MassDOT Highway Administrator, told WBZ Friday morning.

"I think considering the circumstances we're doing about as well as we can, we have over 2,600 pieces of equipment out working the roads, now that we're mixed in with the general traffic, the plows are being hampered in their operations."

DePaola said he understands when drivers see snow-covered roads without a plow around.

"I was on Route 24 for example, it was snow covered, and I realized… I actually saw the plow group going by me southbound, in the same stretch, so I knew about the time of their cycle, it just shows the intensity of the snowfall… that within a 15-to-20 minute period there was an inch or two, back on the highway."

"The teeth of the storm really hit during rush hour.  We've been lucky the last several storms that we haven't had to deal with this, so the commute was slow going.  We had a number of accidents, spinout," Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told reporters at a news conference late Friday morning.

Governor Deval Patrick called the morning commute a "mess" but said the evening drive should be better if the forecast holds and the snow ends.

He didn't have a problem with the plowing.

"I'm satisfied given the conditions.  I wish Mother Nature would shut off at times that are more convenient for the plow drivers.  I think under the circumstances, folks have been doing pretty well," he said.  "We live in New England.  This is a nuisance storm, not an emergency."

Davey said the I-93 south HOV lane will not run Friday afternoon.

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