String of Durham wrecks slows I-40 traffic for hours

Posted June 11, 2012 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated June 11, 2012 11:28 p.m. EDT

— A string of wrecks Monday afternoon involving 14 vehicles, including a bus, blocked all westbound lanes of Interstate 40 at N.C. Highway 751 in Durham.

The traffic backups had ripple effects on the Durham Freeway and other major roads in Research Triangle Park. 

Driver Twanda Taylor said she never got onto I-40, but still dealt with major delays.

"It took me 30 to 40 minutes to get to what normally takes me five minutes," she said. "It's bad."

David Lyman, driver for Barnes Towing, said he expected to have an increase in calls when the rain started Monday afternoon.

"You get less visibility and slicker roads," he said. "They don't go well together."

Westbound lanes were closed for more than two hours but reopened shortly after 6 p.m. Traffic was backed up for 2 miles.

Five people suffered minor injuries in the westbound wrecks, said Sierra Jackson, spokeswoman for the Durham Fire Department. Four people were taken to Duke University Hospital, and one was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Police were rerouting westbound traffic onto the Durham Freeway to Interstate 85. Eastbound traffic was being diverted onto N.C. 751. The DOT said drivers should avoid the area and use local roads, if possible, to get to their destinations.

Another crash on eastbound I-40 at Fayetteville Road in Durham slowed traffic in that direction. The right lane remained closed for more than an hour.