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UPDATED: Snow, Manhole Explosion Create Nightmare Traffic

A manhole explosion and streets narrowed by snow contributed to hour-plus delays for motorists on Friday morning.

A manhole explosion in Forest Hills and streets narrowed by snow helped create a traffic nightmare in JP on Friday morning.

Motorists and bus passengers reported significant delays in different parts of JP, from Huntington Avenue to Centre Street, Spring Park Avenue and the Jamaicaway.

One person reported it taking an hour to drive from the Monument to the Curley School. A bus passenger said she was stuck for 90 minutes.

Police say an accident on Huntington, combined with the snow-narrowed roadways, were probably to blame.

On Huntington Avenue, buses had a paper-thin margin to pass each other. A city crew came with a dump truck to remove snow.

The day began with an explosion at Tower and Washington in Forest Hills. Around 6 am, smouldering wires may have ignited sewer gas, lifting a manhole cover off, said NStar spokesman Michael Durand.

The blast left 160 customers without power, Durand said. By 2 pm, all but 10 had power restored.

The Boston Globe reports that traffic signal lights went out in JP and Roslindale because of malfunctioning equipment in manholes.

But the city's Transportation Department said no Forest Hills traffic signal outages were reported to them or showed up on their internal systems.

"As far as we know, the traffic lights never actually went out in the Forest Hills area," said spokesperson Tracey Ganiatsos.

A signal in Roslindale Square did need reprogramming Friday morning. She said confusion over the traffic lights in Forest Hills could have developed because police officers were manually directing traffic.

[Editor's note: Thanks, Twitter friends, for the direct message updates to @JPPatch. Please keep them coming. Also, I originally had the wrong day listed.]

Karla Vallance February 04, 2011 at 06:16 PM
Amazing. Anyone know if it's cleared up yet?
Hillary February 04, 2011 at 06:32 PM
I read elsewhere that there were significant traffic signal problems that were eventually resolved by the whole system being reset in JP and Roslindale.
Chris Helms (Editor) February 04, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Yes, that's what the Globe is reporting. I'm still confirming. http://tinyurl.com/6jkdynm
John S. February 04, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Part of the problem is all of the mediocre-bad drivers on our streets who haven't the gumption to be a little more pro-active when driving in these snowy conditions. Excessive caution while driving is almost as bad as insufficient caution while driving.
James LaFond-Lewis February 04, 2011 at 09:04 PM
John, I understand your impatience, it always seems like if everyone just got a little more aggressive we'd move more quickly, but I'll have to disagree with you on this one. Erring on the side of caution makes a lot of sense when you consider the size of the mounds at intersections, the necessity for cars to park in what is usually a full width travel lane, & continuing icy conditions at the margins & on the side streets. You might possibly be able to manage it safely, but most other people can't. Sorry, you'll have to live with those of us who take their time. But that's not the problem, anyway. I believe that the problems are owing completely to inadequately cleared streets. In order to handle our traffic, we need all of our main roads to be fully cleared. They aren't. I have been here since 1974. This is the worst I have ever seen the roads. The size & frequency of storms, combined with freezing conditions that have resulted in little melting are all contributing factors. We have never been confronted by weather exactly like this. If this becomes a regular thing, the city will have to budget a lot more money for removal. In 1978, we had a similar circumstance, but the enormous snowfall came more quickly & all non-emergency traffic was banned for five days. The national guard helped, but they're in Afghanistan now. The snowfall in '95-'96 didn't have this impact, either. I ran a delivery business in the city from 1981 until 2009. This is the worst I've seen.
Lars Knakkergaard February 05, 2011 at 12:33 AM
From what I've observed just trying to get around in JP today is that parking should be banned for now on both sides of Centre St and South St until the snow can be cleared. Buses are finding it impossible to pass one another and delivery trucks have no place to park. This is causing tremendous traffic jams. Also, more people need to take advantage of public transportation!
nicarmand@gmail.com February 05, 2011 at 11:11 PM
i've been living here 17 years? i never saw anything like this.... the "evacuation" route is through jp. what if there was a real emergency. all the yuppies would be yelling. and the "less advantaged" people would be running the shit.

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