Massachusetts residents along the Shawsheen River wade through back yards
Rainstorms blew overt the Northeastern parts of Massachusetts this weekend flooding roadways and forcing some schools to close. At least nine deaths over the weekend may be attributed to this nasty storm and almost half a million customers were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut during the peak of power outages yesterday. Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, told reporters about 6,000 residents across Massachusetts were without power into the late afternoon yesterday.
Peabody, Massachusetts downtown area inundated by the storm’s influx of water is completely shut down. This is not the first time Peabody has experienced sever flooding. About four years ago the entire downtown area was shut down for five days due to flooding. Residents and business owners are crossing their fingers the water quickly moves through the town and does not persist as it did the last time around.
Winds gusted at a peak of 69 miles per hour yesterday as recorded by the Blue Hill Observatory near Milton. Wind speeds reached 54 miles per hour according to the Weather Service at Logan International Airport. In Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday a tree gave into the gusty winds falling onto southbound I-93 killing one and injuring two others.
As the rain continues to pour down on Massachusetts basements and roads continue to flood. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has reportedly closed select highway off ramps. In several places throughout the Northeast trains and subways have been replaced by buses. In the last afternoon yesterday two lanes down Interstate 93 were shut down at the parkway as well as parts of Morrissey Boulevard, Quincy Shorte Drive, and Columbia Road. Sand bags were even laid near Boston’s Frenway park to keep the subway station from flooding.
The first signs of spring and better weather should surface tomorrow with a highs in the 50s.
Monday a new five dollar fee was put into effect for drivers who spoke with a Massachusetts RMV representative over the phone or at a branch looking to renew a license, a registration or request a duplicate license. Many drivers saw this registry fee as a “back door” tax. The new charge came as an unpleasant surprise to both drivers and politicians. The measure was meant to encourage the use of the online RMV system to complete transactions rather than visiting a branch in an effort to decrease operation costs.
Due to much outrage and distaste by the public and lawmakers alike, the five dollar fee has been removed. The Registrar stated in its rescinding publication it understands the government’s concern in that the additional five dollar fee would bring an unduly burden on Massachusetts drivers and in the future will not charge drivers for speaking with a representative on the phone or in a branch. The five dollar charge has been rescinded by the RMV; those who paid the fee yesterday should receive a refund via mail within the next two weeks.
The RMV’s motivation behind the rescinded fee however should not be forgotten; online services not only save the RMV money, but drivers time as well. Over the last year the Massachusetts RMV added eight new online services to better serve drivers. You can check them out at: www.mass.gov/rmv. Before going into a branch MassDOT recommends residents to first check the online website and if possible to complete transactions online, saving themselves the hassle and time of going into a branch.
This past Tuesday January 12th a speeding tanker drove out of control crushing three vehicles injuring two people. Rush hour traffic was detoured from Route 2 as it was closed until 11:30am. Nancy James saw the tank in her review mirrors and tired to quickly turn out of its path. The tanker however crushed James’ car and continued down the road to obliterate two additional vehicles.
Nancy James was pulled from her vehicle by a witness and after the accident walked away from the crash site. Elizabeth Buchanan, driver of the second vehicle, was sent to Emerson Hospital for minor injuries. However the tank driver, John Revene, was not as lucky. Suffering from serious injuries Revene was picked up by a trauma helicopter and transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.
This accident may have been much worse as the tanker was carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel at the time. The Department of Transportation has investigated the tanker finding no mechanical issues or faults. Trans Spec Truck Services Inc, owner of the tank involved in the accident, stated they have not had any like incidents in the past. It has been noted as well that the tanker was driving off the scheduled route when the accident occurred. Investigations of this peculiar accident continue.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Brockton police department conducted a city wide safety investigation. The surprise inspection revealed more than a few bumps in the road. The undercover examination was conducted on 85 school transport vehicles bringing children to and from Brockton elementary schools and day cares. As an extension of “Operation Clean Sweep” 12 safety check points were set up to check in on the school’s transportation system.
Inspectors found more than 52 violations by the school’s transportation system. A few of these included: driving with out the proper licensing, overloaded buses, equipment defects, and equipment so old or worn down it was unsafe to drive. This is the second city wide transportation inspection Massachusetts has seen this year. Hopefully these investigations will inspire transportation services across the state to continue following the laws and regulations of safe driving.
Governor Deval Pattrick announced this month he will appoint Jeff Mullan as the new Secretary and CEO of MassDOT. Jeff Mullan will begin his new position November 1st. Welcomed with the new position he will overlook the Massachusetts Department Of Transportation reform.
The new transportation system will condense it’s current operations into four divisions: highway, transit, aeronautics, and RMV. In addition to these four divisions is the Department of Planning and Programming, responsible for planning the state’s network of roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports.
To watch a video of Govenor Deval Pattrick and Jeff Mullan’s statements click here.