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January 18. 2014 4:35PM

Drivers evacuated from stranded vehicles on Sagamore Bridge

HUDSON -- Emergency crews were forced to evacuate dozens of people that were stranded in their vehicles on the Sagamore Bridge during heavy snowfall Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to a report of a jack-knifed tractor trailer shortly before 1 p.m., and once they arrived found that about 20 vehicles had either slipped off the roadway or were stuck on the west side of the bridge from Hudson into Nashua, according to fire officials.
"None of them had collided, but they had all slid off the road," said Capt. David Morin of the Hudson Fire Department, adding it was fortunate that no one was injured and none of the vehicles were damaged.

Morin said that all of the drivers and passengers of the 20 stuck vehicles -- about 35 people -- were asked to exit their vehicles and stand on the other side of the guardrail. Some of the stranded vehicles were blocking the exit to the F.E. Everett Turnpike as well.

Because of the treacherous road conditions, fire officials believed the occupants would be safer outside of their vehicles until emergency vehicles could assist, explained Morin.

The state highway department arrived on the scene to plow the bridge, allowing drivers to eventually move their stranded vehicles about an hour later, according to Morin.

"The roads are horrendous," he said, adding several other traffic problems took place on Saturday afternoon as heavy, wet snow continued to fall throughout the region.

One person was injured in a crash on Kimball Hill Road, and about six vehicles were off the roadway in that same area, said Morin.

As his department responded to a separate accident on Route 102, it witnessed a head-on crash involving two vehicles with at least one serious injury in Litchfield.

As road conditions continued to deteriorate because of the snow on Saturday, emergency officials were urging motorists to stay off the roadways if possible.

"There have been several accidents in the city due to slick roads," Justin Kates, director of Nashua's Office of Emergency Management, said on Saturday. "This is one of those events that was bound to happen sometime this year -- we expected about one or two inches, but now it looks like closer to six."

The Nashua Public Works Department and other city agencies were forced to make quick decisions about how to handle the storm, according to Kates, who said a snow emergency was declared from 10 p.m. on Saturday to 6 a.m. on Sunday to allow plows time to clear the roadways.

khoughton@newstote.com


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