ASHEVILLE —Department of Transportation teams from Western North Carolina built upon progress made on Saturday by continuing to spread salt, push snow and melt ice to clear road conditions on Sunday.
“Things went better than expected today and the sun certainly helped,” Division 11 Maintenance Engineer Charles Reinhardt said. “Drivers need to be aware that there are still some hard-packed spots, and overnight low temperatures increase the risk of black ice as water re-freezes on treated roads.”
Crews completed clearing Interstate 77, I-26 and I-40 before scraping almost all primary routes. Workers also made significant progress on secondary routes in the mountains.
In the northern mountains of Division 11 — Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties — primary routes were cleared on Saturday. By Sunday evening, teams were able to clear 80 percent of secondary roads and 20 percent of unpaved roads.
Secondary locations that are shaded could be troublesome until temperatures increase later in the week.
In Alleghany County on Sunday, crews addressed a five-foot deep snow-drift that extended several hundred feet and made N.C. 18 impassible. A local team safely cleared the path in less than four hours.
In the greater Asheville area, Interstates 40 and 26 were 95 percent clear. Drivers on these interstates should exercise caution as staff addresses the remaining icy spots.
Secondary roads in Division 13 — Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties — were 55 percent clear.
Further west in Division 14 — Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania counties — crews coordinated with the Highway Patrol to complete clearing I-40 between Buncombe County and the Tennessee state line.
All primary systems in the area were cleared on Sunday and crews made significant progress on the secondary roads. Most counties are expected to have the secondary roads cleared by Tuesday.
Drivers are reminded to slow down and be cautious when driving in winter weather. The top cause of crashes is excessive speed.