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Crews Continue Clearing in Mountain Regions

​ASHEVILLE – N.C. Department of Transportation crews are pushing it — from Swain to Surry

They’ve been pushing snow and ice, clearing interstates and highways nonstop since Saturday night. They will continue to clear surfaces until all NCDOT maintained roads are clear. 

Such an undertaking, clearing more than 16,000 miles of road across 25 counties, will last at least into Wednesday especially as snow continued to fall into Monday afternoon in many counties.

“Our crews have been working around the clock for several days, and they’re doing a great job keeping interstates and primaries clear,” Western Deputy Chief Engineer Brian Burch said. “We hope to get to as many secondary roads as possible before freezing temps come tonight. It’s going to get cold enough in some places where salt will not work.” 

Transportation officials recommend limiting all road travel to essential trips only. The best plan is to stay in a safe location.

“We continue to ask for patience and understanding while we do the best we can to clear every area, so people can get back to work, school and the important places they need to be,” Burch said Monday afternoon. “It will still take some time before everything is completely clear with no concerns.”

NCDOT’s primary responsibility is to interstates and four-lane divided highways essential to the movement and intrastate and regional traffic, according to the snow-clearing policy. Other roads are prioritized based on emergency response, overall connectivity, traffic volume, and trucking use.

Interstate 40, I-26 and I-77 are mostly clear in the mountains. Most primary routes are  partially covered with snow, while most secondary roads are covered with snow and ice as of Monday afternoon.

More than 330 trucks, equipped with plows and salt spreaders, plus 55 motor graders, and additional contractor equipment are in operation 24 hours per day across the 25 counties that comprise NCDOT Divisions 11, 13 and 14.

Crews in those 25 counties have spread more than 12,700 tons of salt since the storm started, with those amounts ranging from 133 tons in Clay County to 1,500 tons in Madison County.

Burch said each county has enough material to complete clearing this snow, and divisions will work to replenish salt storage facilities ahead of the next storm. 

“Please continue to be patient,” Burch said. “As conditions improve in our far western areas, we’ll move crews to the counties with heavier snowfall and accelerate processes there.”

Safety tips for motorists​ and details on how NCDOT prepares for winter storms can be found on the NCDOT websites.

For real-time travel information, visit and follow NCDOT on social media.


1/17/2022 4:47 PM