Local News

Wake County Roads Get Worse Overnight

Posted January 26, 2004

— Though they did not appear as bad as a lot of the roads and highways to the east, many roads in Wake County turned into sheets of glass Monday night, thanks to freezing rain which fell off and on all day and into the evening.

Despite warnings not to drive, the white glow of headlights reflecting off the snow-covered roads could be seen all over Wake County.

Many people said cabin fever brought them out.

"Had to get out of the house," said North Carolina State University student Patrick Downing. "It's been two days straight. It's getting old."

Downing and other NCSU students headed to Papa Lou's, one of the few open restaurants in Raleigh. They got stuck on the way there.

"We were coming from campus on Western Boulevard and got stuck in the snow," Downing said. "We lost control of the car. It's dangerous."

Highway Patrol Trooper S.M. Harrison said a lot of vehicles were sliding off roads onto the shoulders, or into ditches and embankments.

"They're getting stuck," Harrison said. "They're not wrecking their vehicles, but they're getting stuck, and we're having to assist them getting their vehicles back on the highway."

Said Jerry Linder of the Department of Transportation: "I'm afraid it's going to be real dangerous tonight and real dangerous tomorrow morning."

Early evening, the DOT restocked its trucks with sand and salt to prepare for a brutal night on the roads.

The DOT had 35 people working overnight trying to get ahead of the ice. They will have about 80 working in the morning.

They had gone through 1,200 tons of salt by midnight.

"The biggest player in this game is Mother Nature, and she hasn't helped us out a whole lot," Linder said. "I'm afraid everything is going to freeze back tonight real hard because we never got above the mid-twenties today."

Harrison said he expected overnight conditions to get really bad.

"Because we're experiencing freezing rain, bridges, overpasses, exit ramps are going to get really slick," he said. "A lot of slush on the highways will refreeze."

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