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Overturned trailers removed, guardrail replaced Tuesday in Franconia Notch

Union Leader Correspondent

April 17. 2018 8:56PM
 (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

FRANCONIA — After some wicked weather a day earlier that flipped three tractor-trailers and closed the Franconia Notch Parkway, crews on Tuesday removed the vehicles and replaced a damaged guardrail in the area just south of Exit 34B.

Just before 2:30 p.m. Monday, New Hampshire State Police Troop F in Twin Mountain received reports that high winds had caused two tractor-trailers to roll over on Interstate 93 in the area of Exit 34B, which leads to the Cannon Tram and the Old Man of the Mountain Profiler Plaza.

One tractor-trailer that was northbound was blown over the guardrail while the other, which was southbound, had its trailer blown off the tractor and into the northbound lane. As troopers responded to the scene, a third tractor-trailer tipped over and struck a state police cruiser.

No one was injured, but high winds forced state police to close the parkway through Franconia Notch well into Monday evening, and to suspend removal and repair operations until Tuesday when heavy-capacity wreckers were brought in to deal with the tractors and trailers.

That process began around 8 a.m., said Lt. Gary Prince, the Troop F commander, and, with intermittent closures of the northbound lane, it lasted until about 1:30 p.m. Once the vehicles were removed, crews from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation then removed and replaced portions of the median guardrail.

Of the three tractors, only one tipped over and it was righted within an hour, Prince said in an email, adding that all three trailers had been empty and that there was no spillage from any of them.

In his 18 years on the job, Prince said he has been “involved in several incidents” involving high winds “like we encountered yesterday.”

NH DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said the agency tried to alert drivers of what was happening in Franconia Notch on Tuesday using electronic signs on Interstate 93, but one of the signs wasn’t working, which may have contributed to more than a mile-long backup in the northbound lane.

To minimize the inconvenience, the road was opened several times for 15-minute stretches, he said, but the removal of the last trailer, which had to be lifted up and then over the guardrail so that it could be placed on the road and driven away, required an extended closure.

Closures of Franconia Notch are not unique, said Boynton, adding that the NH DOT’s Road Weather Information Station at the Lafayette Campground, which is south of where the tractor-trailers flipped over, recorded sustained winds of 47 miles per hour on Monday.

Public Safety Weather Transportation Franconia

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