Local News

Icy roads could make mess of Wednesday morning commute

Posted February 18, 2015

— Many secondary roads in the Triangle were icy in spots Wednesday morning, but no major issues were being reported on the roads during the 7 a.m. hour. 

Temperatures dived into the mid-20s overnight and will hover there through the mid-morning hours. A winter weather advisory for black ice remains in effect for the bulk of central North Carolina until 10 a.m.

Officials said black ice is likely on roads, in parking lots and on sidewalks. 

"Bridges, overpasses, on ramps and shaded areas are going to be of particular concern throughout the morning commute," WRAL traffic reporter Brian Shrader said. "If you're headed back to work today, take it easy."

Britt McCurry, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation, said early Wednesday that crews would work problem areas on the interstates and primary roads before hitting secondary roads.

"We've been treating overnight with salt and sand and we have our full crews back in today to help knock things out," he said. "Once we treat hot spots on the major routes we'll move on the secondary roads."

McCurry said any drivers that do venture out Wednesday morning should pay attention, take their time and slow down. 

"A lot of people listened to the warnings, and that helped a lot. I've heard a lot of people are doing delayed starts," he said. "That should help a little bit. The more room we have to do our jobs the easier we can get it done."

Many of the area's school systems were closed or delayed Wednesday because of the slick conditions. 

State Department of Transportation crews were out in force Tuesday treating highways and primary roads in the area, but some secondary streets and neighborhoods were untouched, making them especially dangerous Wednesday morning. 

"Many of the major highways are greatly improved, but many of the secondary roads throughout the state are still icy and very, very hazardous," Gov. Pat McCrory said. "DOT crews will continue to treat these roads, but let me be clear, again, there's not much they can do to treat black ice."

Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said 2,400 employees from his agency have been working to clear ice and snow, and about 80 percent of the major roads are clear.

“That’s a lot of effort all across the state,” he said.

McCrory and Tata offered their condolences to the family of a woman who died in a weather-related crash Monday night in Hertford County.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said Mykayia Quintara Wilder, 19, of Ahoskie, was driving east on N.C. Highway 561 when she lost control on the ice-covered road, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming car.

Wake County offered these tips for those who must travel in icy conditions:

  • Have at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Have an emergency kit with you in case you get stuck.
  • Drive slowly. Leave three times the distance between other cars than you would during ideal drive conditions.
  • Do not brake unless you have to; the best way to slow down is ease off the gas. If you have to brake, brake gently.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • If tires skid, take your foot off the gas and steer to the direction of the skid.

Due to frigid temperatures expected to arrive Wednesday evening, slick roads could continue to be an issue across the area through the rest of the work week.

Overnight lows will be in the single digits both Thursday and Friday mornings. The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory from 12 a.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday due to the impending arctic blast.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Edward Anderson Feb 18, 2015
    user avatar

    Thanks you, DOT for doing such a great job clearing the roads! well, at least the major ones.

  • Chris Holder Feb 18, 2015
    user avatar

    Our neighborhood roads here are completely iced this AM. The side walks of course are, too -- they were yesterday even during the afternoon when the road was more slushy. The sidewalks got MORE slippery than after the actual sleet event, as the melting/refreezing created a sheet of ice rather than a pack of ice pellets.