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Icy roads blamed for two multi-vehicle crashes in Durham

Posted February 4, 2010

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— Icy roads are being blamed for two multi-vehicle crashes that injured at least three people in Durham Thursday morning.

The first crash involved six vehicles and happened around 5:45 a.m. on N.C. Highway 147 South near Chapel Hill Street.

Emergency crews took three people to Duke Hospital's emergency room with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Pre-school teacher Hali Garrett said she heard the crash.

"I woke up about 5:40 (a.m.) hearing a succession of about five collisions, but it was strange because they seemed to be a few minutes apart," she said. "Between the last few crashes, it sounded like people were honking, perhaps trying to warn other drivers of the collisions."

The right two lanes of N.C. 147 South were blocked, but they reopened by 7:45 a.m. Sand trucks were called to the area to help take care of the icy spots.

The second crash happened on U.S. Highway 15-501 between Cornwallis Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. No other details were available.

Stay with WRAL.com and watch WRAL's Morning News for more on this developing story.


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  • cary1969 Feb 5, 2010

    ice didn't cause this..it was inattentive drivers in too much of a rush

  • killerkestrel Feb 5, 2010

    There are many superelevated curves where the melt water will drain across the highway, and if it gets cold enough, it freezes. Sometimes this is not the fault of the NCDOT, but water coming from another property owner.

    Would brine have helped here? Perhaps. Problem is that as the water continues to flow across the highway, it just washes the salt/brine away. Crews clip back the shoulder, but you can't always get all of it because of guardrail, etc.

    Can't run plows all night long to clear the roads after a storm because the ice freezes tight to the road. Truck snow plows only get the loose ice. Graders get more, but still leave a layer of ice. You can use salt/brine to get it loose, but salt costs $100 per ton, and you use a quarter ton per two lane road mile. It takes multiple passes, and NCDOT doesn't have enough salt. I know a county used over $100K of salt, and only on primaries. They didn't have enough for secondaries.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Feb 4, 2010

    I've been in North Carolina since I was 5 years old, so I'm not too familiar with driving in snow or on ice. I went to college in Wilmington, and I didn't move to the Triangle until 1994. So, I've seen very little snow or ice.

    When the governor & state highway patrol tell me to stay at home unless it's an emergency, I stay at home. When the governor & SHP tell me to drive slowly, take extra time, and exercise caution, I do so.

    I don't whine about the small number of snow equipment. I don't buy snow tires or chains for my car.

    I drove out to Chapel Hill on Tuesday night on I-40. I could tell the road conditions were bad, and I adjusted my driving speed accordingly, driving below the speed limit. I was passed quite often. When I got home to Raleigh, my street was still a mess. I went very slowly.

    I don't think more snow removing equipment would be a good expenditure. Just don't honk or flip me off if you see me driving slowly in bad road conditions.

  • balog Feb 4, 2010

    "We have a bunch of lazy workers that can not do their job and get away with it."

    Comments like this amaze me because the same people that will whine about this are the same ones who want across the board tax cuts. Well guess what, the fact that these roads were not maintained proactivley to avoid the issue was a direct result of these wonderful budget cuts...pay higher taxes or deal with the hand you are dealt.

  • time4real Feb 4, 2010

    "We have a bunch of lazy workers that can not do their job and get away with it.

    they are just like their boss, Bev!

  • shawn2246 Feb 4, 2010

    pulstar - I agree with you in your first 1.5 sentences. "Ice is ice, no matter where you are from. No one can drive in ice..." This is the true part (well I would say ON ice...). The problem is that SOME Northerners think they can drive on ICE because they are experienced driving in the SNOW. These are two ENTIRELY different things!! I also believe that sometimes people with larger, heavier vehicles think that somehow this will help them (or allow them to drive at higher speeds and/or more carelessly) on ICE - WRONG ANSWER!!! I have lived here over 30 years and seen plenty of ice storms...And I recall one back in the early 90's where I smiled all the way from Cary to Durham (while going 35mph in the one partially cleared lane) because about 75% of the vehicles in the ditches in I-40 were trucks and SUV's. Again, it is ice...just like you will slip on it when you are walking to your vehicle, your vehicle will slip on the roads.

  • AtALost Feb 4, 2010

    tperciac, I guess you didn't notice my comment about sand, etc. washing away. The etc includes salt. It usually rains first which is why the brine solutions are rarely effective. I'm sure you say just re-salt the roads but with limited resources, that's easier said than done. The easiest solution is to plan for the weather, stay home if possible and drive slowly to minimize the impact of accidents.

  • umustbekiddingme Feb 4, 2010

    Four- We have a bunch of lazy workers that can not do their job and get away with it.

  • AtALost Feb 4, 2010

    Forgot to mention that snow here is usually different from up north. One it's usually wetter so plowing won't prevent ice from the moisture left on the roads, two we have greater temperature swings resulting in more melting which means more ice, three we have all these northerners who think they can drive on ice when really NO one can!

  • umustbekiddingme Feb 4, 2010

    Right- Money that gets put into peoples pockets instead of towards the city. All about the money!