Icy conditions cause traffic snarls in Triangle

Posted February 20, 2012

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— Falling temperatures and water leftover from Sunday's winter weather left ice on bridges and on ramps Monday morning, causing wrecks numerous wrecks on Interstate 440, I-540 and other local roads. 

Across Wake, Durham, Granville and Person counties there were more than 100 weather-related collisions since midnight, the state Highway Patrol said. Most of the wrecks occurred in Person County, which saw 57 wrecks, and in Wake County, which had 27.

A fiery wreck on I-540 at Creedmoor Road closed the two left lanes in both directions around 6:30 a.m.

DOT crews clear icy conditions DOT crews clear icy conditions

The N.C. Department of Transportation opted not to pre-treat the roadways with brine Sunday afternoon because the heavy amounts of rain during the day would have washed it away. 

"It would have been a waste of resources, time and money. We did have crews hitting the roads as soon as there was something for them to address yesterday evening," N.C. DOT chief communications officer Dara Demi said.

Some of the areas that saw icing problems were among those treated, DOT Director of Communications Greer Beaty said. 

"The salt keeps the ice from bonding to the road, but it's not going to make the water go away. So there will always be places where you are going to have slick spots," Beaty said. 

I-540, overpasses and bridges on I-440, I-40 and Wade Avenue were part of those treated

Maintenance crews will be active into the evening as they work to remove any ice and snow still left on roadways, the DOT said.  

Raleigh police closed I-440 between Wade Avenue and Hillsborough Street during the morning commute due to icy conditions. The main bridge on that road was especially dangerous, authorities said. 

Another wreck along I-40 East closed the ramp from I-40 to I-540 around 7:15 a.m. A Durham police cruiser responding to a call got into a wreck with a tractor-trailer when the truck jackknifed on the ramp. The patrol car caught fire, but both officers were able to get out of the car safely, Durham authorities said. The ramp was expected to remain closed until noon, DOT officials said. 

The driver of the tractor-trailer involved in the wreck, Richard LaFleur, of Greensboro, was charged with exceeding a safe speed and failure to move over for emergency vehicles.

I-40 Ramp to I-540 Vehicle Fire Icy roadways cause wrecks in Triangle

DOT officials also closed the Lumley Road overpass on U.S. 70 Eastbound for a brief time during the commute hours.

There were also wrecks late Sunday as snow fell throughout much of the area during the evening hours. 

At least four cars were involved in a wreck on Interstate 40 at Harrison Avenue, slowing traffic to a crawl. There was no word on injuries as of 11 p.m., but several cars were slipping and sliding on the slick roads, making for nerve-wracking travel.

Power was out several hours for some people near Crabtree Valley Mall after a man hit a utility pole on Homewood Banks Drive just after 2 a.m.

Although the DOT was happy with the treatment of the roads, they said next time they plan on improving communication with the media to get the message out about road conditions earlier. 


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  • Shamrock Feb 21, 2012

    " I was taught no matter what never break on a bridge. WHAT PART OF THIS DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND."

    Either you are not very clear in your postings, or you do not understand. If the car in front of you stops, and you are on a bridge, you are not supposed to hit the brakes? How about when sunny out? Really?

  • barbstillkickin Feb 21, 2012

    The people in this state are just not good at driving even in rain. YOU DO NOT BRAKE ON A BRIDGE PERIOD. I have seen so many southerners that see a bridge and when it is raining snowing or any road condition they throw on there brakes. PLEASE JUST LET OFF YOUR GAS AND YOUR CAR WILL NOT SLIDE. YOU WILL LIVE THROUGH THE BRIDGE. How many times do these people need to hear this. I have driven for over 40 years in bad weather and never had a crash. I was taught no matter what never break on a bridge. WHAT PART OF THIS DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND.

  • yellow_hat Feb 20, 2012

    HAHAHAHAHA - Cops tailgate a truck, run into it, and then charGe him. hahahahahahaha

  • jeff27577 Feb 20, 2012

    people cannot drive, period. common sense has gone the way of the dodo bird

  • jsok123 Feb 20, 2012

    "southerner's don't know how to drive in the snow...."blah,blah,blah.
    Then leave if you don't like it here. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  • AtALost Feb 20, 2012

    "Maybe we should have a dunce test added to the NC drivers license process."

    We should but then there'd be a lot of people complaining it's unfair. There are a LOT of people who don't deserve licenses.

    Also, no need to spend thousands of dollars for thin ice just so a few can get out at the crack of dawn. As someone else suggested, wait an hour or so after sunrise...if that doesn't work for you then too bad. If the north was so great, you'd be there and not here.

  • AtALost Feb 20, 2012

    "WOW!! Some of the folks the fartherest came to work and those that live in the back door aren't coming until later? SMH!!!"

    The ones at the back door are using common sense. Too bad it's not that common. There will always be those who proudly make it in just as there will always be those like in this story who weren't so lucky.

  • AtALost Feb 20, 2012

    There are bad drivers in dry conditions. Also lots of people with bad tires, etc. But also, it's possible the great drivers on this board didn't encounter the icy spots some others did. My advice is to stay off the road until it's above freezing and it's all melting. Amazing that people can't be late or miss work until they wreck their vehicles and possibly themselves.

  • vrigg45071 Feb 20, 2012

    If you aren't comfortable with how Southerners drive, no matter the weather, or, if you don't care for the way bad weather is handled by the D.O.T., please feel free to leave this state. I for one, would be THRILLED for you to go elsewhere.

  • knucklehead Feb 20, 2012

    why in samhell did themorons with emergency services have close down 2 lanes on the OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY????