Governor Outlines Plan to Help Dig Out Massachusetts from Record Snowfall

A snow-covered Fenway Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Rinaldi / Globe Staff)
A snow-covered Fenway Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Rinaldi / Globe Staff)

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said schools and other city services will restart Wednesday, after another multiday shutdown brought on by severe winter weather.

Some MBTA trains will also be running, officials said, although with limited scope.

Walsh said the city is continuing its work to rid Boston’s major roads and neighborhoods of snow and will haul away 2,000 truckloads of snow Tuesday night. In some neighborhoods, the city has yet to remove snow from last month’s blizzard, and those piles have since doubled in size.

“We’re looking for help all over the City of Boston to make sure that we keep our main streets open and also our sidewalks open,” Walsh said in an afternoon news conference. “We want to make sure we keep the city open and safe.’’

This afternoon, the MBTA announced it will run commuter, subway, and trolley rail service Wednesday, making what officials said would be about 70 percent of its normal weekday trips. The Green and Blue lines will use reduced schedules, and the level of service available for riders of the Red and Orange lines will be announced later Tuesday.

On Wednesday, buses will replace service on the Mattapan trolley line, and there will be no MBTA commuter rail service at the TF Green or Wickford Junction stations in Rhode Island nor at the Plymouth commuter station.

As Boston prepared to move toward normality, Governor Charlie Baker outlined an “action plan’’ to help Massachusetts dig out from the record snowfall. The plan centers on activating the Massachusetts National Guard, getting heavy equipment from other states and buying two massive snowmelters.

“We need to get the Commonwealth back to work and we need to get our kids back to school,’’ Baker said at a press conference at the State House. He said he has activated 500 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal across the state.

The move came as the MBTA continues to struggle with the weather. Trains did not run in Greater Boston Tuesday.

General Manager Beverly Scott defended her agency’s performance, citing the historic series of storms coupled with a lack of funding to keep the fleet of aging trains in shape. She said she cannot guarantee reliable service going into the weekend. More snow is expected Thursday.

Walsh said the shutdown of the T, while unwelcome in the business community, was a major boon to the city in its snow removal efforts.

“The fact that the MBTA didn’t run today was a good thing for the city,’’ Walsh said. “I know the business community doesn’t want to hear that.’’

In Boston, Walsh said schools will be open on Evacuation Day (March 17) and on Bunker Hill Day (June 17) to make up for snow days. City officials said Boston now has one day in reserve should the need for another snow day arrive. School is still scheduled to end June 30.

Speaking earlier Tuesday. Baker said his “action plan’’ for recovery was crafted following meetings with his top personnel Monday night.

“Five hundred National Guard troops were called up last night,” Baker said. “Two hundred will deploy in 50 teams of four men and women in Humvees and will assist cities and towns in digging out hydrants and other critical assets.”

The remainder of the Guard troops, he said, will operate heavy machinery to remove snow. The Massachusetts National Guard has secured front-end loaders, bobcats, backhoes, and dumptrucks — about 30 pieces of equipment in all, Baker said. He said the troops would deploy across eastern Massachusetts on Tuesday.

Baker said the Vermont National Guard has responded to the request for help and is sending roughly a dozen pieces of equipment, which he expects will be deployed Wednesday morning.

Baker said he has asked for assistance from all of the New England states as well as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Details are being worked out with officials in those states, he said.

Baker also said the state will buy two snow melters, massive machines that can handle 25 truckloads per hour.

The state’s Transportation Department, which has deployed thousands of pieces of snow clearing equipment nonstop for the past several days, said it had cleared major roadways down to the pavement in time for the Tuesday commute.

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SOURCE: Boston Globe, Andy Rosen, Andrew Ryan, Nicole Dungca and Joshua Miller

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