ABERDEEN – State transportation crews are fanning out across the rural Piedmont counties, clearing fallen trees and inspecting and repairing roads where floodwaters from Florence have receded.
As of Tuesday, 12 primary routes and 108 secondary routes remained impassable across Highway Division 8, which comprises Chatham, Lee, Moore, Richmond, Hoke, Montgomery, Randolph and Scotland counties. That figure is down from more than 200 closures Monday. The current closures include portions of these highways:
• Richmond County: N.C. 73 and N.C. 109
• Moore County: N.C 22, NC 24/27 and N.C. 690
• Scotland County: N.C. 144; U.S. 401 in multiple locations throughout the county, U.S. 401 Business at the South Carolina line; and U.S. 501 at three locations near Robeson County
• Hoke County: U.S. 401 Business
“Our crews have been working hard since the storm struck to get our roads safely reopened as quickly as possible,” said Chuck Dumas, the Division 8 maintenance engineer. “We are beginning to see floodwaters recede, so we’ll be able to reopen more roads soon.”
Transportation officials urged people to never drive through flood waters. Drivers who come across a road with barricades should not attempt to drive around them or move them. Instead, turn around and seek an alternate route.
The division sustained some of the worst damage in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Statewide, there are more than 1,000 road closures, including interstates 95 and 40, as well as numerous highways and other primary routes. While road conditions are starting to improve in some parts of the state, rising creeks, streams and rivers continue to make travel unsafe in many areas of North Carolina.
In the harder-hit counties of Montgomery, Richmond, Moore and Scotland, a dozen bridges are closed today because of high floodwaters. Battling the aftermath of Florence are more than 200 maintenance and bridge employees in the division for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
In Randolph, Chatham and Lee counties, all primary routes are open.