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NH motorists encouraged to avoid Boston area

April 19. 2013 9:12AM
A N.H. Department of Transportation sign on I-93 South warns travelers to avoid Boston on Friday in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

CONCORD - Commuters and other New Hampshire travelers are being urged to avoid the Boston area today as a massive manhunt continues for one of the Marathon bombers, who police describe as armed and very dangerous.

Massachusetts authorities ordered a lockdown of the entire City of Boston and a number of surrounding communities as the search continues for suspected bomber Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge. According to reports, his brother Tamerlyn Tsarnaev, believed to be 26, was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown early Friday morning. Media reports indicate he had an improvised explosive device strapped to his chest.

The shootout came after the brothers allegedly robbed a 7-11 in Cambridge, shot and killed a MIT security officer, hijacked a Mercedes SUV and then engaged in a shootout with police, tossing explosives at the officers as they fled. Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, according to reports, drove over his brother when he stole another car and made his escape.

"We ask New Hampshire residents to avoid the Boston area to allow authorities to conduct their investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing," said Perry E. Plummer, Director of New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "Public transit, including AMTRAK service to and from Boston, has been shut down. Universities and businesses in and around Boston are closed."

Plummer said this is a rapidly changing situation. He urged people to monitor media reports and to follow instructions from Massachusetts authorities.

A spokesman for the state Traffic Management Center (TMC) said message signs along the state's highways are encouraging motorists to "check media before traveling to Boston."

He said South Station in Boston is closed, resulting in Boston Express, Concord Coach and C & J in Portsmouth all canceling their bus routes to Boston. Transportation to Logan International Airport is still being provided by all three bus companies, according to TMC spokesman.

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is operating as usual, according to Deputy Director J. Brian O'Neil. The airport has no flights to Logan, he said.

Van Dongen, public information officer, New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said state police have sent personnel and equipment to Boston to help out in the case. He would not specify who went and what they brought with them.

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