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More than 130 crashes reported around parts of Mass., N.H.

This is what Canton Street in Fitchburg looked like on Friday morning.
This is what Canton Street in Fitchburg looked like on Friday morning. Shauna Staveley

Slick roads caused scores of crashes in Central Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire on Friday, complicating both the morning and evening commutes in some areas, officials said.

“We had over 40 accidents since 4:45 a.m.,” Fitchburg police Captain Steven D. Giannini said by phone around 9 a.m. “They were all ice and weather-related.”

As of 2:30 p.m., that tally had spiked to roughly 50 accidents, Giannini said.

Remarkably, none of those crashes resulted in serious injuries. But the chaos gripped local residents who took to social media to document the morning mayhem, including Shauna Staveley, who witnessed a five-car collision in front of her home on Canton Street.

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“It’s a skating rink in Fitchburg,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Someone actually slid into my parked car,” she added, tweeting a photo and video from the scene.

Pedestrians weren’t safe either, with icy sidewalks making for equally treacherous terrain. One Twitter user writing under the handle Chrissy Husselbee posted a photo of a badly injured shin, suggesting a deep gash was the result of a fall during a morning trash run.

“[U]ntreated sidewalks in Fitchburg putting out trash,” Husselbee tweeted. “Be careful. 1/4 inch ice.”

The Massachusetts damage was hardly limited to Fitchburg.

According to the traffic monitoring website Sigalert.com, a collision was reported at 7:10 a.m. on Route 2 East at Exit 21 in Templeton, and another crash was reported at 7:43 a.m. on Route 2 East near Exit 36 in Lancaster.

Police in the town of Berlin used social media to warn drivers about the dangerous road conditions.

“As you get up and get going this morning please leave extra time as the roads are very icy,” Berlin police wrote on Facebook. “We have responded to a few accidents already. Slow down and take your time!”

The threat of icy roads continued into Friday evening in some parts of Massachusetts, according to forecasters.

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The National Weather Service issued a statement shortly before 6 p.m. Friday saying black ice could coat roads in pockets of Franklin, Worcester, and Middlesex counties.

Precipitation had ended, but ice was still possible as temperatures hovered around freezing in communities like Colrain and Townsend. Temperatures were expected to slowly rise later Friday evening, “bringing an end to this threat,” according to the weather service.

In New Hampshire, 88 crashes or vehicles off the road had been reported on state highways as of around noon, according to the state Office of Highway Safety. Officials had no immediate information on whether anyone was hurt.

Jennifer Tramp, a spokeswoman for the office, said the speed limit on New Hampshire highways had been reduced to 45 miles per hour as a result of the poor driving conditions.

“We are cautioning drivers to slow down,” she said. “Take your time, stay alert, leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you — and that includes plow trucks.”

Drivers are also advised to use caution when passing vehicles, leave enough time to reach their final destinations, and refrain from texting behind the wheel, Tramp said.

Her words were echoed by New Hampshire State Police.

“Slick driving conditions this morning!” troopers tweeted, urging motorists to take the same precautions that Tramp referenced.

Despite the warnings, multiple crashes were reported on Interstate 89 northbound, prompting State Police to close Exit 2 with a “possible detour,” the agency tweeted. “Avoid area and drive with caution as many roads are covered with ice.”

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In a follow-up statement, State Police said troopers were alerted to “several motor vehicle crashes” on Interstate 89 in Concord, N.H., at 6:54 a.m.

“Upon arrival, State Police units found three passenger cars involved in separate crashes along with four tractor trailer units which had jack-knifed and crashed, blocking all lanes of traffic on I-89 north between Exits 2-3,” the release said. “Additionally, a large box truck driving north became involved in these crashes. Fuel was spilled from two of the tractor trailers. As a result, the Department of Environmental Services responded to the scene to assist in the cleanup.”

The statement noted that driving conditions were hazardous.

“A storm front consisting of snow and freezing rain had moved through the area, causing the roadway to become covered in ice, making driving treacherous,” the release said. “The ice covered roadway contributed to the cause of these collisions.”

But there was a silver lining.

“No one was injured as a result of these crashes and no enforcement action was taken against any of the drivers involved,” the release said, adding that the left lane remained shut down for several hours until the fuel spill was contained.

Slippery conditions were also felt on Interstate 93, with multiple accidents reported from Canterbury to Meredith, according to State Police.

And the highway safety office cautioned residents to be on their guard throughout the day.

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“Winter weather advisory remains in effect until 4 p.m. EST this afternoon,” the agency tweeted. “Be safe!”


Danny McDonald of Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Emily Sweeney can be reached atesweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.