Traffic

DOT to Fix Troublesome Spot on U.S. 64

Posted March 27, 2007 6:47 p.m. EDT

— The state Department of Transportation plans to repair a section of U.S. Highway 64 that has been the scene of dozens of accidents in the past two years.

Drivers say the road is like grease in the rain where westbound U.S. 64 turns into the U.S. 64 Bypass.

A DOT investigation found that 40 crashes have occurred within a half-mile of the interchange between U.S. 64 and the bypass since the bypass opened in July 2005. Nineteen of those wrecks happened when it was raining.

A Hillsborough couple and their son were killed in one of those wrecks on a rainy Christmas Day when another driver lost control of his sport utility vehicle, crossed the median and collided head-on with their car.

The DOT has repeatedly repaired cable guardrails in the median that have been knocked down in wrecks, but highway engineers said Tuesday that more work needs to be done on the interchange.

Studies have shown that water doesn't flow fast enough across the road and is pooling in multiple flat spots, DOT engineer Joey Hopkins said.

"We're going to grind some of the flat spots out of the pavement and then repair that and put more slope in the road to hopefully drain some of the water off (U.S.) 64," Hopkins said. "We're coming out of a normal crown where the road kind of peaks in the middle and it then moves into a quick elevation going around a curve, and that transition area is generally what causes some issues."

The contractor on the U.S. 64 Bypass project has agreed to do the repairs, beginning Saturday. It's unclear who will pay for it and who could be liable for any damages.

"We have had problems out there, but only when it rains," said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "The bottom line here -- people need to slow down. But there are a lot of collisions that occur in that stretch. We've had a couple of fataltities out there, so we're glad if the DOT can do something to make it safer. We're all for it."