More NCDOT crews and trucks arriving to remove ice from roads

NCDOT truck plows an icy road in New Hanover County (Photo: Sarah Johnson/WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two days after snow fell across the area and the roads became sheets of ice, many streets and highways remain dangerous for drivers.

Accidents inundate law enforcement, tow truck companies stay busy, and schools and some businesses remain closed.

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We’ve heard from many people wanting to know why the roads remain treacherous and why hasn’t the NC Department of Transportation done a better job clearing the roads.

We took those concerns to the NCDOT.

Assistant Division Maintenance Engineer Gerard Taylor says crews are working very diligently and they’re bringing in more resources. DOT crews have arrived from Winston-Salem, others are coming in from Charlotte, Asheboro, North Wilkesboro, and Fayetteville. He roughly estimates 30 more personnel and pieces of equipment will be here to help either tonight or tomorrow morning.

“You’ll see them out there and while they’re plowing trying to push off what they can, they’re actually putting down salt behind them. Then they’re gone and you think they’re not doing anything anymore. They’re then coming back in a circle to hit what they’ve put salt on.”

Taylor says the salt has to take time to work before they can return with the plow. If they immediately plowed, the salt would just end up in the ditch. The few cars that might be on the road, speed up the process.

“Car traffic pushes salt down into the ice, which starts accelerating the process which helps break it up a bit.”

These trucks also can’t run non-stop. Taylor says scraping a road wears down the blades, so they have to return to the shop to put on new blades.

Taylor also says there are reasons why certain roads get worked on first.

“I-40, no one lives on it, why are we doing it? Well think about it, it’s 70 mph, moves a lot of traffic, helps the economy. You have materials, supplies getting to factories, high volume routes, economic routes, stuff like that.”

They begin with major roads, then move on to secondary roads and then subdivisions. The very last roads they touch are unpaved roads, but usually the roads are clear by the time they would get to them.

One major road still has layers of ice on it. At last check, a section of HWY 74 eastbound in Brunswick County was shut down from Maco Road to Wilmington because of the ice.

Taylor says quite a few resources are heading over to HWY 74 in Brunswick County to help with the road. A grader is coming from Sampson County, as well.

Another problem area they will work on is 3rd Street in Wilmington.

Earlier Friday morning, when WWAY asked about 3rd Street, both the City of Wilmington and NCDOT in Raleigh said both the city and state were responsible for portions of 3rd Street, but no one could answer when or who would take care of the road.

We spoke with Taylor, who says crews are now working on the section of 3rd street from Carolina Beach Road to Market Street in Wilmington, which is also covered with a layer of ice.

Taylor says the City of Wilmington is responsible for 3rd Street from Market Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. A Wilmington spokesperson has since confirmed they will be clearing their part of 3rd Street.

Taylor says there’s always going to be a challenge with shady spots, but you can’t do but so much without warm temperatures and sun. The more snow we get, the more time it takes to get rid of it.