Speed Limit Reduced on Mass. Pike as Bomb Cyclone Arrives

Transit around Massachusetts has been impacted by the storm, with a reduced commuter rail schedule and hundreds of flight cancelations at Logan Airport.

A snow plow in Boston

Photo via AP/Michael Dwye

The state Department of Transportation has lowered the speed limit on the entire length of the Massachusetts Turnpike to 40 miles per hour as the bomb cyclone begins to bear down on the Commonwealth.

Initially, the reduction affected only a portion of the turnpike, but it has since been extended to the whole thoroughfare. Some breakdown lanes on Interstate 93 and Route 3 that are typically open during rush hour periods are also closed to allow motorists to travel safely, state Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack said in a morning press conference.

Though a fleet of 4,200 pieces of equipment will be plowing snow and treating roadways during the height of the storm, state officials strongly encouraged drivers to stay inside.

The MBTA is operating a regular weekday schedule, but buses are using designated snow routes. Trains equipped with plows and de-icing capabilities have been deployed on all lines of the T, Pollack said. Elsewhere, the commuter rail is running reduced service, and the Mattapan high-speed trolley is relying on buses rather than trains. Air travel is significantly impacted by the storm, and nearly 700 flights in and out of Logan Airport have been canceled. Travelers are advised to check with their airline before making the trip to the airport. 

With wind gusts over 60 miles per hour expected over Cape Cod, power outages remain a concern for state officials. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said an emergency operation center has been activated in Framingham, and the National Grid and Eversource are coordinating with public works officials to keep utilities functional across the state. Regional shelters are also set to accommodate people who need a safe and warm place to stay.

Though there is no travel ban in effect, Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated the need to stay alert and remain cautious, particularly as temperatures are expected to plummet on Friday.

“This is winter in New England,” Baker said. “As the first big storm of the season works its way through the Commonwealth, we are asking everyone to remain vigilant and check-in with one another.”