Icy conditions cause traffic snarls in Triangle
Posted February 20, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.
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.