Icy roads causing numerous wrecks
Posted January 29, 2010 9:05 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2010 9:56 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The state Highway Patrol said snow and icy roads caused numerous wrecks Friday evening, but the rate of wrecks slowed as drivers listened to warnings and stayed off the roads Saturday morning.
Authorities urged people to stay home if at all possible as the winter storm moves across the state.
"It is going to be very difficult for us to make roads safe and passable,” state Department of Transportation engineer Steve Halsey said.
State troopers in the Triangle said they responded to 129 wrecks between midnight and 7 a.m. Saturday. Most wrecks were minor, and have been cleared.
Troopers in Fayetteville area said they have had no more wrecks than usual, despite the weather. They had responded to fewer than 10 wrecks by 6 a.m.
West of the Triangle, troopers said, they had responded to 79 wrecks by 6 a.m. None of them were serious.
Overnight, Raleigh dispatchers said about 50 accidents were reported between 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. From midnight to 4 a.m., 48 wrecks were reported in Raleigh, state troopers said.
Traffic was backed up for a short time along Interstate 440 at Wade Avenue after multiple vehicles collided at about 8:30 p.m. There were no serious injuries reported.
Snow and ice made the roadway impassable for a few hours between the 1700 block of Trailwood Drive and Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh Friday evening.
Also in Raleigh, a driver said slick roads caused him to wreck at Blue Ridge and Trinity roads, near the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. The motorist was not injured.
In Durham, two wrecks were reported overnight on N.C. Highway 147 in Durham. Three vehicles went into a ditch at about 4 a.m. along the 1800 block of Cheek Road.
Officials said early Saturday that there had been 18 storm-related traffic accidents in Cary, two with non-life-threatening injuries.
Troopers in Fayetteville also reported more wrecks than usual.
State troopers said that they responded to dozens of accidents across the Triangle, most involving cars hitting guardrails.
Some motorists on Friday were trying to take it slow as the roads became covered with snow.
"It's moving a little bit slow. It is just wet and a little bit slushy,” motorist Bob Wohlfarth said.
Wohlfarth, who is originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., said he is used to driving in snow and is looking forward to the wintry conditions.
"I have a four-wheel drive, so I am excited,” he said.
It was a harrowing drive, however, for motorists not accustomed to icy roads.
"I am probably not going to get back on the roads when I get back to my apartment because of the weather and people driving crazy,” motorist Ben Williams said.
To help monitor road and weather conditions, the state Emergency Operations Center will be activated at 7 a.m. Saturday. The center staffs several agencies, including the Highway Patrol, DOT and the North Carolina National Guard, so they are ready to respond quickly to weather-related problems.
The Wake County Emergency Operations Center was activated Friday evening in preparation for the winter storm. People with non-emergency weather-related questions can call 919-856-7044. For emergencies, people should continue to call 911.
Wrecks on icy roads close I-26, I-40 in mountains
Wrecks have shut down Interstate 26, near Asheville, and Interstate 40, near Black Mountain.
Troopers said Friday evening that they expect the highways to remain closed until early Saturday morning.
Authorities said I-40 is closed at mile marker 72, about 30 miles east of Asheville, while I-26 is closed at mile marker 36, about 10 miles south of Asheville.