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De-icing efforts begin as temperatures plunge

Crews loaded salt into trucks off the Massachusetts Turnpike in Weston for use on roads through the night.
Crews loaded salt into trucks off the Massachusetts Turnpike in Weston for use on roads through the night.Credit: Jim Davis/Globe Staff

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It would all come down to timing.

As temperatures plunged from the balmy 50s to the low teens Monday, Massachusetts Department of Transportation crews waited for the perfect moment to treat the roads to ward against ice. Start too early, and the salt would be washed away by rain. Start too late, and ice would have a chance to glaze the pavement before crews could reach the region’s major roadways.

“We’d hate to have it all literally wash down the drain,” said Frank DePaola, highway administrator for the state Department of Transportation. “We’re watching the weather forecast very closely.”

Transportation officials monitored temperature sensors embedded in the roads throughout the day, waiting for that magic number, 32 degrees, to appear on the thermometer, the starting gun that would trigger herculean efforts from the region’s transportation and public utilities crews to fend off the ice.

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