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DOT To Address Incident Response Efforts

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DURHAM, N.C. — A wreck along Interstate 40 Thursday morning had a major impact on commuters.

Around 8 a.m., a small truck wrecked and landed on its side along I-40 east, just past the Durham Freeway. It took two hours before traffic got moving again.

While that amount of time is an improvement over the last big wreck along I-40, some said it is not fast enough.

The Highway Patrol called a tow truck eight minutes after the wreck, but it took an hour to get the tow truck to the wreck. It took another hour to clear the wreckage and sweep up the scene.

By 9:55 a.m., almost two hours after the wreck happened, traffic was backed up for 12 miles.

"We think we can do better," said Kelly Hutchinson of the DOT.

Hutchinson supervises the DOT's incident response effort. She said all the players in Thursday morning's crash will meet early next month, and all the tough questions will be asked.

"We're going to really try to break it down and look at each piece and see which of those pieces of the response puzzle we can minimize and bring the whole response time down to a shorter duration," she said.

On April 9, a tractor-trailer wreck snarled I-40 for six hours. It happened just a few hundred yards from the latest wreck.

The DOT said crews are doing better, but many irate commuters believe crews need to do better.

The DOT is also working on legislation that would protect state crews from liability in cases where wreckage is pushed from the roadway.