Engineers Study Slick U.S. 64 for Accident Problems

Posted January 1, 2007 5:21 p.m. EST
Updated January 1, 2007 7:08 p.m. EST

— State Department of Transportation crews have erected slippery when wet signs along the U.S. Highway 64 Bypass after drivers complained wet weather make the new stretch of highway treacherous.

"When it rains, you feel the tires like slippery, like there's grease all over the road. It's very unsafe," one driver said.

"When it's wet, I have to slow down and stay in the right lane and try not to pass anybody and mind my own business," driver JoAnn Hilmar said.

Heavy rains drenched the area a week ago, when a mother and son were killed on a Christmas Day wreck after one vehicle crossed the median and collided with their car.

From July 2005 until last September, 40 wrecks occurred on a stretch of U.S. 64 within a half-mile of the Rolesville Road exit in eastern Wake County. Nineteen of those wrecks happened in wet weather, and DOT engineers say that's worth examining.

"The water that was out there could have been a factor. We did have heavy rains and, of course, slowing down or not slowing down for existing conditions is always a concern for the driving public," DOT Division Engineer Wally Bowman said.

A team of DOT engineers will visit the scene and produce a report on how safety could be improved.

"They'll be looking at the physical characteristics -- is there ponding water, are the signs appropriate, are there low shoulders?" he said.

More warning signs -- they are larger than existing ones -- are expected to be posted in the near future.