Travel ban lifted but drivers asked to stay off roads if possibl - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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BLIZZARD EUGENE

Travel ban lifted but drivers asked to stay off roads if possible

Posted: Updated:
DOT plows have been working to clear streets across the state, like in Bristol (WFSB) DOT plows have been working to clear streets across the state, like in Bristol (WFSB)
The view from I-691 on Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo) The view from I-691 on Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo)
I-91 in New Haven. (WFSB photo) I-91 in New Haven. (WFSB photo)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

The travel ban on Connecticut highways was lifted on Tuesday evening, but state lawmakers and police advised drivers to stay off the roads if possible throughout the night.

Driving during Blizzard Eugene became treacherous as soon as the storm arrived on Tuesday.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's travel ban went into effect at 5 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m.

"That doesn't mean anyone should, it's not go for a ride type of lift,” Malloy said. "This is recognition we played part of the commerce of the whole nation and got to move through our whole state and we will be open at 5 p.m." 

The travel ban for New Haven also expired at 5 p.m.

As of Tuesday evening, state police responded to 176 motorist assists and 908 calls for service. Troopers responded to 40 no-injury crashes and one minor injury crash.

“By limiting travel on state roads to only essential personnel, we dramatically reduced the potential for accidents and it has provided road crews with much greater access to clear the roads faster,” Malloy said. 

Black ice remained an issue, along with visibility 

"However, I want to stress that residents are still strongly advised to stay off the roads if at all possible. DOT crews are still clearing snow from many roads, and black ice continues to be a concern. If you absolutely do not need to travel, stay where you are this evening.  Again, I want to thank all of the residents of our great state for heeding the warnings and staying safe during this storm," Malloy said. 

Plows from the state Department of Transportation have been working to clear the roads. There were 634 plow trucks and 250 private plow operators on the state highways. 

For the most part, Malloy said drivers complied with the ban.

"State residents are complying with the request to stay off the roads and I want to thank them for doing that," he said. "That will allow us to stay ahead of the snow and get back to normal more quickly than we might otherwise if cars got trapped on the highways."

Earlier on Tuesday, a bicyclist was located on the westbound side of Route 2 near the Pitkin Street exit in East Hartford around 9 a.m. The bicyclist was escorted off by Connecticut State Police. Authorities said these actions are not advisable or allowed, especially during a travel ban.

As far as the travel ban goes, if drivers were caught on the road by state police, they would be issued a $92 fine.

Malloy directed nonessential first, second and third shift state employees not to report to work on Tuesday. According to state law, an essential employee is one who performs work involving the safety of human life or protection of property. 

There were 7,800 flights canceled in the northeast. All Bradley Airport departures were canceled on Tuesday. Airport officials are hoping to be allowed some incoming flights on Tuesday night. 

Even CT Transit has suspended its services for Tuesday. That includes CT Fastrak buses.

Metro-North said it was operating on a Sunday schedule with extra trains as needed. At noon, the service was suspended, but it will resume with hourly service through 11 p.m., at 6 p.m.

“Getting customers to their destination safely is our top priority,”  Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti said in a statement on Tuesday.

Giulietti added that "blowing winds and accumulating snow" made "it increasingly hard to keep the third rail clear and power running smoothly for the entire day." 

More information on Metro-North can be found on its website here.

Amtrak will also run with limited service on Wednesday.

Peter Pan bus service issued cancellations ahead of the storm. See them here.

Bus and train service were expected to resume on Wednesday. 

For real-time traffic updates, check the WFSB traffic map here.

The storm has also impacted many blood drives by the American Red Cross. In total, 11 drives were canceled, according to the governor. He encouraged people to donate on Wednesday. Malloy said he will be donating in Farmington.

To read storm updates, click here.

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