Local News

Easley Makes Appeal To Motorists: Stay Off Roads

Posted January 27, 2004

— Gov. Mike Easley and Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty held a briefing Tuesday to discuss road conditions and response efforts across the state.

Easley said road conditions are dangerous across the state and the state Highway Patrol has advised motorists to stay off roads until conditions improve.

"If you are out there and you don't need to be out there, you are not only putting yourself at risk, but you are putting our troopers at risk," Easley said. "You are putting DOT [crews] behind and you are putting those people in jeopardy who don't have power and slowing down the process of getting power restored."

Easley said crews with the state Department of Transportation are working to clear the roads quickly. He said DOT crews are working on interstates first, followed by secondary roads.

More than 6,000 DOT workers have spread nearly 40,000 tons of salt on state roads since Sunday. They typically use 50,000 during an average year.

Easley said motorists could be ticketed if they drive in an unsafe manner while roads are treacherous. He also asked residents to not use 911 for routine traffic accidents.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol has answered more than 7,000 calls for service since the start of the storm. Easley has ordered additional troopers on duty to respond to the high numbers of traffic incidents.

On Sunday, Easley declared a state of emergency for North Carolina due to the inclement weather conditions statewide. Local state of emergencies have been declared in Caswell, Columbus, Halifax, Johnston, McDowell, Scotland and Wilson counties.

While the Triangle was spared widespread power problems, the southeastern counties felt the weight of the ice. More than 30,000 customers lost power in Columbus, Bladen, Robeson, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, and Duplin counties.

So far, officials said eight people have died in weather-related accidents.

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