FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Gov. Dannel Malloy recommended that anyone in Fairfield County planning to travel on Wednesday should instead make the trip on Tuesday or delay until Thursday to avoid getting caught in the snowstorm expected to hit Connecticut on Wednesday .
“If you can get on the road tonight, and avoid travel altogether tomorrow, that’s an option you should consider,” Malloy said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
The state Department of Transportation and other officials have been preparing for the storm for the past day and a half, Malloy said. The state’s emergency operations center will be partially activated at 8 a.m. Wednesday to prepare for the worst of the storm, which is expected to hit between 2 and 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“Between our fleet of snow plows, front-end loaders and large-scale snow blowers, like the ones we sent to Buffalo, we have hundreds of vehicles at our disposal to assist with snow removal,” Malloy said. Connecticut will begin pre-treating roads early Wednesday morning or late Tuesday night.
DOT Commissioner James Redeker reiterated the governor’s message about finishing travel on Tuesday or delaying until Thursday morning to avoid the snow. He said the state’s fleet of trucks has been in preparation for several weeks, with 632 fleet trucks ready to plow, as well as 251 contractor plows, 112 front-end loaders, 12 massive snow blowers, and other trucks to deal with any fallen trees.
“I think we’re in great shape. We will be staffing our operation at midnight tonight to be way ahead of the curve in terms of the storm, and we’ll be prepared to address the conditions as they evolve throughout the course of the state differently,” Redeker said.
Residents were also encouraged to take mass transit if they could to avoid the highways. Metro-North will be running its regular schedule as well as extra trains to accommodate the increase in travelers during the holiday weekend. Redeker said Metro-North is prepared with crews and plows ready to handle any snow.
Malloy said the state will be closely following weather forecasts, and said the DOT will send regular updates both through Twitter and traffic signs. Later in the day he announced that state office buildings will close at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday due to the storm.
The state also announced the launch of Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) to make roads safer during the holiday weekend. Starting at midnight Tuesday and lasting until Dec. 1, state and local police will increase patrols on roads and highways in order to cut down on drunk drivers and other unsafe motorists. Troopers will conduct roving DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints with safety spot checks.
“We have the coinciding of several of the days when more people are likely to be drinking and driving, and now driving on roads that are clearly going to become very difficult, if not impassible at points,” said Dora Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
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