Most main roads in Pitt County cleared - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Most main roads in Pitt County cleared

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Most main roads in Pitt County are now clear and safe for drivers.

That's according to the NCDOT.
Over the past two days, they've deployed 2 dozen trucks throughout the area.
Crews used a combination of plowing and salt and got a little help from the sun Thursday to melt the snow.
Friday, drivers told 9 On Your Side the clear pavement in Greenville was a welcome sight.

"And then yesterday, it was just a bunch of slush,” said Melanie Dambach, PCC Student. “There was like 2 lanes, you couldn't even see the lanes. So today, at least you can see where you're going and see where the lanes are and everything."

Some rural and neighborhood roads are still snow-covered.
The DOT says they will try to plow as many as they can. But expected warmer temperatures this weekend might beat them to it.

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9 On Your Side is tracking dangerous conditions on icy roads throughout the region.

Department of Transportation crews were able to plow many, but not all roads Wednesday. And low temperature overnight caused the slush from melted or plowed snow to refreeze.

In Pitt County, road crews have worked nonstop on the major highways leading into and out Greenville. But, they still have a long way to go.

US Highway 264, Highway 11 and Stantonsburg Road near the hospital are mostly clear. So are Allen Road, Firetower Road and Dickinson Avenue extension.
In the early afternoon Greenville Boulevard, Arlington Boulevard, Evans Street and some parts of Memorial Drive were still covered in snow and ice, sometimes with no yellow lines, lanes or curbs visible. But by nightfall crews had made the rounds on some of those roads.
Despite bringing in backup from the western part of our state, DOT still has a lot of ground to cover, and secondary and rural roads are last on the priority list.
“We’re going to work again all day until, again, it freezes up tonight,” said Jeremy Stroud, NCDOT Maintenance Engineer. “We’re going to be around the clock.”

Greenville Public Works and NCDOT crews hit the road early Thursday morning to continue plowing and spreading more than 400 tons of salt along primary roads in Pitt County.
But with high demand across the southeast, a salt shortage is threatening their efforts.

NCDOT expected to get about 150 more tons of salt delivered today, and pulled from other counties to make due in the meantime.

"We're running slim,” said Stroud. “We ran out this morning. We've got all the trucks full, but we ran out. We're supposed to be getting about 150 tons more today delivered. So that'll help, but we're pulling from other counties trying to make do. But yeah, we're in short supply right now of salt."

Greenville Public Works Director, Kevin Mulligan, says they’re in the same situation.

“As a city, we’re not really equipped to deal with this type of storm,” said Mulligan.

Greenville has just three plows for the entire city, and is having to prioritize which roads are plowed.

Public Works says primary roads for the city, like Arlington, Hooker and Red Banks, will be plowed first. Then roads that access the hospital, fire departments and police will be plowed. Secondary and rural roads could pose a threat into the weekend.

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From shovels to tractors and plow trucks, Greenville is digging itself out of 3 inches of snow that fell overnight.

"I was like oh my God, it's snowing!” says Winde Rodgers, who ventured out Wednesday morning to buy groceries. “We haven't seen snow in so long, not this much of it."

In the early morning hours, some locals saw the empty, snow-covered roads as an opportunity to have some fun.

"Oh we were just playing around, cutting donuts, kind of just sliding all over the place," says Jason Lenier.

But NCDOT officials in Pitt County see it a bit differently. The icy roads are a safety hazard they must clear as quickly as possible.

"We’re going to make a big push to get the snow off of those {roads} so hopefully they won't have a chance to refreeze,” says Jeremy Stroud, NCDOT maintenance engineer for Pitt County.

With help from western counties, two dozen plow trucks are spreading 400 tons of salt along primary roads. They hope the extra manpower helps them quickly clear four-lane roads like NC Hwy 11 here and Hwy 264 going towards Washington and Wilson.

But they say if you live in rural areas, you might have to wait a little bit longer.

"They’re going to be a hazard for most motorists on through tomorrow and Friday, and possibly to the weekend,” Stroud says.

He adds roads leading in and out of the city must take priority. So when sharing the streets with DOT, patience is key.

"If you just give us some room, give us some space, let us do our job and hopefully we can get you on the roads and get everything clear soon,” Stroud says.

Since the storm moved into Pitt County Tuesday night, the State Highway Patrol has responded to nine car crashes.

None of them were fatal.
Overall, troopers say they got more than 130 calls for service during that time span. Those calls were in reference to people's cars sliding off the road or if they got stuck in the heavy snow and needed help.

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The snow storm has just arrived in the East, but hundreds of people have been preparing for days in an effort to minimize its potentially dangerous impact.

Emergency crews want to create a seamless line of communication so they can work together and react quickly to any issue the snow throws their way.

Pitt County Emergency Management Director Noel Lee says 4-8 inches of expected snow might not sound like a lot to people who live up North, but “You've got remember, we are in Eastern North Carolina,” he says. “We are not used to this type of weather. So it is a big event for us."

But just because we're not used to it, doesn't mean we can't handle it.

Lee says he's in constant contact with the National Weather Service and emergency response crews from across the East. His biggest concerns: potential power outages and car wrecks.

"If you don't need to be on the roads, stay off the roads because the roads will become slick and may even become impassible,” he says.
Keeping an eye on your electricity is Greenville Utilities Commission Electric Systems Director Roger Jones. He says GUC serves 64,000 electric customers, which is about 75 percent of Pitt County.

He says extra manpower inside their 24-hour dispatch center will help them identify and respond to power outages in real time.

"All electric personnel are on alert, so if we have any type of problems we can mobilize our forces as quick as we can,” Jones says.

Jones says small outages can take a few hours to fix but widespread outages could take up to 1 to 2 days.  In that event, the American Red Cross is prepared to step up.

"Right now we have prepositioned shelter supplies, cots, blankets, water, snacks," says Bill Brent, regional CEO for the American Red Cross. "There's a strong possibility in a storm this size, that power is going to go out somewhere for some extended period of time. And if that happens, then we're ready to open the shelters and make sure people have a safe, warm place to go."

If you live in Pitt County and your power goes out, those shelters are located at Farmville Middle School, Wellcome Middle School and Hope Middle School.
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