Metro

Snowplows answer the call to duty in blizzard

A plow worked to clear snow in Downtown Boston during the nor’easter Tuesday.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
A plow worked to clear snow in Downtown Boston during the nor’easter Tuesday.

Hundreds of snowplows and other vehicles were deployed to clear roadways in Boston and surrounding areas as the blizzard hammered the region, covering streets in heavy snow.

In Boston, 800 plows, scrapers, and salt trucks hit the roads Tuesday, working diligently to clear what they could, said Chris Coakley, spokesman for the Department of Public Works.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Coakley said.

Advertisement

Although the snow was falling thick and fast, with forecasters predicting up to 18 inches in the city, Coakley said the department was managing the roads.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

“The main routes and the side streets look good as well,” Coakley said. “Our crews are keeping up, and they’re doing a great job.”

On Twitter, Boston police asked residents to stay home and off the roads as snow began to accumulate into larger mounds around 3 p.m.

“Unless your car has a plow in the front and a sander in the back, there’s really no reason for you or your vehicle to be out on the roadways hindering snow removal efforts in Boston,” police said in the tweet.

In Cambridge, 150 pieces of equipment were deployed to the streets, Public Works Commissioner Owen O’Riordan said.

Advertisement

“Obviously, immediately after plowing, the streets get covered again due to the rate of snow at the moment,” O’Riordan said.

O’Riordan said the department was more concerned about how things could get worse as the day went on and snow continued to fall.

“We have full fleets of equipment working into tomorrow,” he said. “We’re always concerned if there’s too much traffic on the streets, but it’s pretty quiet given that a lot of employees are not coming into the city today. We also have a parking ban, and that helps a lot.”

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Cambridge Department of Public Works said it had removed bike lane separators to ease salting and plowing efforts.

To the south, Quincy mayor’s office spokesman Chris Walker said the city sent out 140 trucks and plows to combat the fierce snow.

Advertisement

“The goal when it’s snowing this hard is to keep the main thoroughfares open and the side roads at least passable for emergency vehicles,” Walker said. “We know it’s just not possible when it’s coming down like this to keep the roads totally clear, but it’s as good as possible.”

Walker said the department was also keeping an eye on the evening high tide, which was expected to roll in around 9 p.m.

“We don’t anticipate anything remotely close to the storm less than two weeks ago,” Walker said. “But we’re monitoring and we have extra emergency equipment stationed in case the roads get cut off to and from those areas due to flooding.”

Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.