North Carolina transportation officials are pre-treating roads from the Piedmont to the coast and urging people in the path of this next round of winter weather to stay off the roads unless travel is essential.
“It is time to stay put and off the roads,” said State Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette. “Please do not put yourself or others in harm’s way. Nothing is worth your life.”
Overnight, central and eastern North Carolina received an early dose of freezing rain and some light snow that left many roads icy on Friday morning, prompting renewed calls for people to stay off the roads.
N.C. Department of Transportation employees and contract crews have been pretreating roads with brine before yesterday’s round of weather and continued those efforts Friday morning before a more significant round of freezing rain, snow and sleet is expected to start this afternoon in central and eastern North Carolina.
As of 11 a.m., crews had placed 1.2 million gallons of brine on roads, bridges and overpasses in the eastern two-thirds of the Tar Heel State.
The third winter storm of 2022 could dump 3-5 inches of snow east of Interstate 95, 1-3 inches from the Triangle down to the Sandhills, and up to an inch from Charlotte to parts of the Triad, the National Weather Service reports. Ice is also forecast to accumulate on power lines, trees and roads across the region and create treacherous driving conditions.
Officials are extremely concerned about the potential for black ice through the weekend and are urging people to stay off roads for several days until ice on roads and bridges can thaw.
“Please, if you can, stay off the roads,” said N.C. Department of Transportation’s Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “We’ll have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming days and our crews need to focus on getting roads safe for travel again.”
Once the storm hits, NCDOT crews will go to work treating accumulating ice with salt and sand and plowing snow. More than 900 transportation workers are working or standing by throughout the weekend to help make roads safe for travel. Like all industries, NCDOT is impacted by COVID-19 and staffing shortages. Transportation officials ask for patience as crews may not be able to respond in certain areas as quickly as in the past.
The storm is also affecting the state’s coastal ferry system. By 4 p.m. Friday, all seven ferry routes will have been temporarily suspended due to the current winds and expected icy conditions on the roads leading to some ferry terminals. Ferry routes will resume when it is safe to do so. Please visit NCDOT’s social media platforms for updates on ferries.
File photo: Vehicle flips on Highway 1 in Vass in a snowstorm in 2018/Sandhills Sentinel.