Black ice on a highway in Worcester this morning sent about 65 vehicles, including three tractor trailers, crashing into one another, leaving at least two people seriously injured, according to State Police.
About 35 people were taken to local hospitals after the mammoth pileup on Interstate 290 near exit 14, which occurred when freezing precipitation coated the highway in ice, Sergeant Stephen Marsh said in a phone interview.
“The road was a sheet of ice,” he said. “It was like if you went skating with your kids. It was that bad.”
Troopers closed I-290 to westbound traffic for nearly five hours, diverting traffic onto city streets. The Worcester Regional Transit Authority assisted with removal of operators and passengers. Involved vehicles were moved to two nearby parking lots to open the roadway.
Freezing rain and icy roads have been causing spinouts throughout Central Massachusetts, Marsh said. At least three State Police cruisers have been hit.
The National Weather Service had issued a freezing rain advisory until 11 a.m. for Worcester County, Northern Middlesex County, Southwest New Hampshire, and the Connecticut River Valley.
On Twitter, State Police put out a series of traffic advisories, reporting more crashes on I-290 in the I-190 area. Police tweeted that parts of Route 2 in Fitchburg and Route 146 in Millbury are “very slick.” Cars were spinning out on I-495 around exit 28.
Also this morning, the Lowell Connector roadway in the Merrimack Valley was closed for approximately 45 minutes after icy conditions caused multiple crashes, but has since reopened.
“Use caution if you must go out,” police tweeted.
With many people returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, Fitch advised drivers to wait until the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has treated the roads.
“If you can, delay your trip until they can make the roads safe for travel,” he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham said Greater Boston “doesn’t look too bad today” with scattered rain showers and highs in the lower 40s. But he said slippery roads outside of I-495 are causing problems.
“We’ve been getting a lot of reports of accidents in the area where we have the freezing rain advisory,” Dunham said.
The wind is fairly light today, coming from the south at 5 to 10 miles per hour. Skies are cloudy with temperatures expected to creep up into the upper 30s and lower 40s, and scattered rain showers continuing for the rest of the day.
Monday will be mostly cloudy with highs in the lower 40s and a light north to northeast wind.David Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davabel. Anne Steele can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AnneMarieSteele.