Local News

U.S. 64 Bypass Section Sees Many Accidents

Posted February 19, 2007
Updated February 20, 2007

— One part of the U.S. 64 Bypass near Wendell has seen a wreck that killed three people and dozens of spinouts in the rain, and guardrail cables that were recently repaired are down again.

The gap this time is about 50 feet from where a deadly Christmas Day crash happened. That time, an SUV crossed another downed cable, slammed into a car and killed three people.

A state Department of Transportation investigation shows 40 crashes within a half-mile of the wreck scene since the bypass opened in July 2005, 19 of those when it was raining.

One state attempt to find an answer came up dry.

“We actually had our Pavement Management Group go out and do a skid test to see if the road roughness is what it should be, and the test results for that came back very good, so we're happy with that,” Wally Bowman, a DOT division engineer, said Monday.

Engineers now are conducting another test to figure out if there is anything wrong with the way the road tilts for drainage.

Wendell Fire Chief Tom Vaughan’s department is the first-response agency for the stretch of the bypass where the accidents happen.

“I don't like seeing people hurt and killed when it can be avoided,” Vaughan said. “It’s typical government. If it was a private interest, those guardrails would’ve been put up long ago and maintained. It's just government.”

The DOT has a self-imposed seven-day limit for getting median repairs done and said Monday that the guardrail will be fixed before that.

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  • chargernut69 Feb 22, 2007

    Actually, if they put a "crown" on the road so the water runs off, it would save alot of hydroplaning wrecks... when the road is flat (like 99% of most NC roads), there is nowhere for the water to run off to when it rains... common sense, but this is NC DOT.... nuff' said?

  • mikeNC Feb 20, 2007

    The thought of Toll roads would never have been a thought had our legislators left the Highway Fund alone. At one time the highway fund had plenty of money to finance these projects. Our elected officials decided to rob the fund in order to pay for their over spending so there would be a balanced budget.

  • Love my boys Feb 20, 2007

    The key to staying on the road when it's wet is to use caution and slow down. The big black & white sign that states "Speed Limit 70" is not a suggestion folks!

  • El Doggo Feb 20, 2007

    Oh, just raise the TOLL on the southwestern leg of I-540 to pay for upgrades and repairs to the existing I-540... Those southwestern drivers will never know...

  • mslisac363 Feb 20, 2007

    I travel this highway and there is nothing wrong with it. People are running speeds 80+ miles/hr what do they think is going to happen? You can drive 70 out there and people are passing just as if you are not moving. When there is rain people still don't break their speed.

  • Oh Smeg Feb 20, 2007

    Sounds like a great place for a few roundabouts. Guaranteed to fix every imaginable traffice problem without having to plan or examine any alternatives.

  • just my2cents Feb 20, 2007

    The state can only do so much with the federal highway funds left...you know, the ones Easley did not get his hands on.
    The roads in Virginia are much worse, but if you drive the speed limit and pay attention, you will be a lot safer.

  • Here kitty kitty Feb 20, 2007

    Oh great, Johndot...that means they will be on my bumper doing 60+ on that curve! Fine, put in tolls on 540. I'll just go back to the country roads I drove before 540 opened.

  • Wakenative Feb 20, 2007

    pegisue, the speed limit has been bumped back up to 55, not that that matters, people still are idiots out there. I dive the speed limit to 5 miles over, and I drive 64/264 every day, and for the most part I get passed like I'm standing still! People drive like idiots out there, yesterday some jack-a-ninny passed me on the right shoulder! That incident makes TWO times that's happened out there. If people slow down and drive to the conditions of the road, there would be fewer accidents. I used to commute to Greenville from Wendell, and when the Wilson 264 bypass was opened it never failed on rainy days to pass people who spun-out into the median. I just keep telling myself, people who drive recklessly will end up paying for it some time (I know I had to learn from my impatience)

  • nursevb8 Feb 20, 2007

    The 540 raceway is just that. I travel it daily with people riding my butt going 80 mph. Drive 80 or get run over! But the quality of the new pavement is poor. Take the exit into Knightdale from the East. The pavement is split in the middle, what are the different colored patches everywhere, and right at the Capital exit Eastward, it looks like the machine that puts down white stripes has burned the roadway. This is terrible work and now they want to put in tolls to finish it.