Local News

Officials: Better Communication Key To Handling Winter Response Issues

Posted January 26, 2005 5:19 a.m. EST

— Wake County and state officials came to an agreement about how to handle problems that were spurred by a sudden snowfall on Jan. 19.

Thousands of motorists were stranded in their cars for long periods of time due to major traffic gridlock. Gov. Mike Easley had requested that Wake County open its shelters, but the county denied his request. Easley was also reportedly put on hold during the request.

"What I wanted to do is to get everyone off the road for an hour, so the DOT salt trucks could get out there," Easley said.

On Wednesday, Wake County and state leaders agreed that instead of calling the emergency center which the governor did, both sides agreed that the governor should contact the county manager or the chairman of the county commission directly.

Wake County leaders also apologized to state officials about the way the governor was treated during the storm and talked about ways of improving communication between the two entities. The county said Wednesday's meeting was more than talking about past mistakes.

"We also wanted to go beyond that and talk about lessons learned this time," Wake County Manager David Cooke said.

Officials also said that shelters do not just have to be at schools. They said a business on Capital Boulevard where all the traffic was could have served as a place for people to get off the streets. Several agencies plan to meet in the next few weeks to talk about more ways to improve.