Pre-Holiday Storm Snarls Vt. Traffic, Boosts Ski Areas

With road conditions poor from a pre-holiday weekend winter storm, Vermont State Police asked drivers to avoid unnecessary travel and take steps to ensure their safety.

Those included thoroughly cleaning snow and ice from vehicles, keeping speeds down, and leaving extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

“It’s hard to keep up when it’s coming down like this,” said George Gonyo, a plow truck operator for the Vermont Agency of Transportation who was working Friday to keep Interstate 89 passable for the holiday weekend travelers. “And there’s so much traffic on the road right now, that just slows us down.”

There were slide-offs up and down the interstate. Rich Kelley of the Vermont State Police said the agency responded to 120 traffic incidents by 3 p.m. Friday.

The conditions were so bad by midday that police even asked people to delay their drives, if possible.

In Winooski, an SUV just couldn’t come to a stop coming down a hill, rear-ending a school bus that was pausing at train tracks. No kids were on board and the drivers were ok, an officer on-scene said.

“We are in winter—traffic volumes are up, people are celebrating the holidays, and everybody should just be very careful on the roadway,” said Joe Flynn, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Milk hauler Steve Desautels had to bring a shipment from Vermont dairy farms to a processing plant in Franklin, Massachusetts. He stopped at a rest area in Williston on the trip south.

“Be safe, drive slow,” Desautels urged other drivers. “Take your time, that’s all I can say. Make sure you’ve got good tires.”

While it was high-stress on the roads, high in the mountains, Vermont skiing and snowboarding areas were celebrating a gift from Mother Nature before the all-important Christmas vacation week.

An necn viewer who was off-trail skiing at the Stowe Mountain Resort sent the news station video of a friend enjoying all the fresh powder–hopeful the conditions stay favorable for the season to come.

Another necn viewer sent video from Smugglers’ Notch Resort, where she said guests were enjoying the wintry pre-Christmas scene.

The city of Winooski announced an overnight parking ban for snow cleanup Friday night, and one will be in place Saturday night in the city of Burlington.

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