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Wake Leaders Look For Answers To Prevent Winter Traffic Gridlock

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands were stuck in traffic during a sudden snowfall on Jan. 19. On Tuesday, Wake County leaders met to prevent a similar scene from happening in the future.

"It was the perfect storm. If these conditions happened anywhere else in the country, the results would have been very much the same," said John Rukavina, Wake County director of Public Safety.

Among the ideas discussed was whether traffic patterns should be reversed to get people moving and who should have the final say on that decision? County leaders also debated whether salt and sand trucks should hit the common troublespots even with a forecast of flurries.

One idea being talked about is putting two-way radio systems in school buses. The problem is putting the systems in every school bus would cost nearly $2.5 million.

Getting word out to television and radio stations faster is another weak point the county wants to improve. The county believes people could not make it to high school shelters even if they were open, so officials are considering a list of secondary shelters in areas where people were not moving.

WRAL showed the county's list of ideas to drivers who got trapped in the mess. Their response was mixed.

"Public information in cooperation with the news media, that would be great," said Daniel King.

"I don't think that will help too much. People are just going to drive whenever they see snow. They just want to go home," said Joe Chen.

At the time of the snowfall, Gov. Mike Easley was not happy with Wake County's decision not to open any shelters. County leaders will meet with the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Wednesday to discuss ways to worker better with the state in the future.


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