WILMINGTON – People in the Wilmington area are urged to avoid traveling today due to the ice and snow that still cover many roadways.
N.C. Department of Transportation crews will be working day and night to salt and scrape roads – a force of more than 80 employees and about 40 vehicles for the six-county region anchored around Wilmington.
“The only people that should be out on the road right now are emergency personnel and our employees who are working hard to clear the roads," said Chad Kimes, the Division 3 Engineer based in Castle Hayne.
Because most of the region was blanketed with ice, NCDOT primarily focused Friday night and this morning on spreading rock salt before pushing plows. By midday Saturday, the salt and warming temperatures began to melt enough of the frozen precipitation that crews could begin scraping primary routes. There is an emphasis on clearing Interstate 40 in Sampson, Duplin, Pender and New Hanover counties.
“Our crews will be working around the clock for the next several days until we can get all of our roads cleared," said Caitlin Marks, the Division 3 assistant maintenance engineer. “This was a major winter storm, and it will take us some time to dig out of it."
NCDOT crews also continue to spread salt on island bridges, which remain icy, and in some cases, impassable, today.
“Although we had a lot of ice accumulation impacting our roads, we are fortunate we did not have many downed trees or limbs due to this storm," Marks said.
Highway Division 3, which covers Brunswick, Duplin, Onslow, Pender, Sampson and New Hanover counties, maintains more than 13,000 lanes miles, so it will take several days before all roads can be cleared.
Once primary routes have been cleared, the department will focus on secondary roads. This NCDOT page describes its road-clearing policy.
With below-freezing temperatures expected tonight, the risk of black ice will be great Sunday morning. However, tomorrow's warmer, sunny forecast will hasten the melting of snow and ice.
To learn more how NCDOT prepares for and responds to winter storms, visit this webpage.