McCrory urges caution as crews work to clear secondary roads
Posted January 29, 2014
Updated January 30, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — As crews continued to remove snow and ice from roads across central and eastern North Carolina Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory urged drivers to remain cautious.
"Now's not the time to be stupid," McCrory said during a news conference. "Remain smart and vigilant about the safety of the roads."
Many secondary roads across the Triangle continued to be covered in the snow and ice left behind by Tuesday's winter storm, officials said, and icy conditions were especially evident in southeastern North Carolina.
"Our crews are working on some of the primary routes throughout the county," Wake County maintenance engineer Jason Holmes said. "Once those are cleared up, we'll move to secondary roads. We're applying salt as needed, trying to free up some of the hard-pack conditions we're seeing in part of the county."
More than 2,100 state Department of Transportation plows and trucks – along with numerous contractors – were working across the state, Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said. Since snow started falling late Tuesday, crews had spread more than 55,000 tons of salt and a salt-sand mix on state highways, he said.
Travel remains "a little dicey" in the Wilmington area, Tata said, but crews were working to clear Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 17 by Thursday evening.
"There's a thick layer of ice that fell there," he said.
Like McCrory, he asked drivers to remain cautious, especially when sharing the road with DOT vehicles.
In Fayetteville, crews were monitoring shaded streets, which also remained covered in ice.
"I've seen people drive here too fast," said Josh Brandon, who lives in a hilly section of the city behind the Eutaw Shopping Center. "They're coming down this hill driving too fast. They don't slow down."
Brandon said he's seen drivers skidding and getting stuck trying to get up the hill, adding that he hasn't seen a plow in the area or any salt or sand trucks.
Fayetteville officials said there were only minor fender-benders and no major power outages in the city during the storm.
No major wrecks were reported in Wake County Thursday, but many drivers were forced to take it easy, especially on two-lane roads in the southern and eastern parts of the county. Holmes said the roads were worse in those areas because they saw a bit more snow from Tuesday's storm.
Authorities in Holly Springs closed Rouse Road between Oliver Creek Parkway and Powell Ridge Road due to ice covering a bridge. U.S. Highway 70 Business in Garner was also a problem spot Thursday morning.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol had handled more than 5,000 calls between Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon, including more than 3,100 accidents, Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry said. The call volume was about 20 percent higher than normal, he said, noting that people exercised enough caution on the roads to keep the volume from going even higher.