Road repairs after Matthew could take months

Posted October 13, 2016 4:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:38 p.m. EDT

— The work to repair roads damaged by Hurricane Matthew has just begun.

As the sun rose Thursday, Tim Little, a Department of Transportation engineer, was out working on Interstate 40. A chunk of the road in Johnston County had washed away in the storm.

"We're finding areas that are washed out. Some of them are minor areas that can be repaired very quickly, and some require major repairs," he said.

DOT engineers in eastern North Carolina have been working to assess the damage Matthew caused.

"We're waiting for these waters to recede. We have an idea, but some we don't even have a real idea of what damage is there," Little said.

Interstates get top priority for repairs, but several dozen secondary roads are also washed out.

Little said the repairs will take months.

"Over the next several weeks, we will be repairing and assessing damage," he said.

Drivers need to prepare for long-term detours and should never drive around a barricade.

DOT officials hope to reopen I-40 in Johnston County by Friday, but for many drivers, frustrations of closures could last into the holidays.

Little says the federal government will reimburse the state for many of the emergency road repairs.