DOT warns motorists of icy roads

Posted December 18, 2009 2:10 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2009 10:39 p.m. EST

— State and local transportation crews said they were more worried about the chance for a freeze overnight and icing Saturday morning.

The state Department of Transportation issued an alert asking that motorists avoid driving if possible Friday night and early Saturday, when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.

“At that point, ice can and will form on bridges, hills" making for some slick conditions," NCDOT engineer Steve Halsey said.

Crews began laying down an anti-icing salt-brine mix on roadways Wednesday afternoon. If and when icy precipitation falls, they'll add a layer of salt and sand.

"We are gearing to begin spreading sand and salt," said Cary's Public Works Director Scott Hecht. "We have the supplies, the people and the plan – everything necessary to do our best with the situation that develops."

Raleigh saw some snow early Friday afternoon, but nothing stuck to the key routes enough to make driving hazardous, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

Durham had more than 24 weather-related wrecks Friday night, officials said. No serious injuries were reported.

The greater portion of the snow and sleet fell to the north and west of the Triangle.

At one point Friday afternoon, Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said there was a wreck every three minutes.

“We are getting a lot of calls of wrecks, people sliding off the road – some of them flipping upside down,” Jones said.

Some Person County roads were covered in patches of snow and ice. “If you don’t have to go anywhere, it is best to stay home,” Jones said.

Crews prepared to clear roads

Raleigh has 4,000 tons of salt and 20,000 gallons of salt-brine on hand. Cary has 57 pieces of snow-fighting equipment to clear its 450 miles of roads.

In Durham, crews put 12,000 gallons of brine down on heavily traveled areas, including downtown, on Thursday and Friday, according to Durham Public Works Street Maintenance Superintendent Michael Balzarano.

He said they'd be back at work at midnight Saturday to treat bridges and roads.

“If the street looks wet, make yourself believe that it’s ice and slow down," Balzarano advised.

Motorist Charles Winstead braved the roads in Person County. "You have to be extra careful out here and just pray," he said.