Local News

DOT Asks Drivers to Steer Clear of Floyd-Damaged Roads Until Repairs Are Completed

Posted October 4, 1999

— TheDepartment of Transportationsays a number of the roads closed because of flooding are now open. However, drivers will still feel the impact of Floyd's road rampage for many months.

One of the toughest repair jobs in the state is going to be fixing the Highway 301 bridge in Halifax County.

Floyd wiped out 300 feet of bridge and road and carved out 40 feet of earth.

North Carolina's chief highway engineer says there is no quick fix.

"Six to nine months, I would think, would be the best we can do to get that structure back in place and running, and that's as soon as we'll be able to do that," said Don Goins.

Highway 70 at LaGrange in Lenoir County is probably the most heavily traveled major highway still in need of Floyd repairs.

Crews are driving new pilings right through the bridge deck, shoring up supports weakened by surging flood waters.

Both directions of traffic are now detoured onto the westbound span.

The DOT says both spans should be ready for traffic next week.

At the height of Floyd's flooding, the DOT says there were 1,500 roads closed in North Carolina. Now, almost three weeks later, that number is down to 317.

Many closed roads are in lightly populated areas but will require heavy work and the patience of drivers.

Cones and barricades block one bridge in Halifax County, but while WRAL was there, a truck took a bumpy ride through anyway.

And our cameras also caught a car ignoring the "Road Closed" signs on the flooded part of Highway 98 in Durham County. The driver sloshed through right past a DOT truck.

"People drive by landmarks. They don't understand detours. They're in a hurry. It's a continual problem for us," Goins said.

DOT engineers met with their contractors Monday. They say they have the materials and the manpower to make the necessary repairs.

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