Eastern North Carolina readies roads for winter storm

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Crews across eastern North Carolina prepared Wednesday as Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of the upcoming winter storm.

Cooper said the declaration allows them to “deploy essential assets for storm response and any recovery that is needed.”

The state of emergency encompasses all of eastern North Carolina.

Cooper said the state’s emergency operations center was activated Wednesday morning, and state and local emergency managers are coordinating their response.

About 800 NCDOT have been out on the roadways for anti-icing operations, spraying roads ahead of the storm.

The plan is for that number to double once the storm comes, and the focus to shift to plowing and salting.

Troopers are also marking abandoned vehicles along the roadway to make sure no one is left stranded.

Cooper acknowledged those in eastern North Carolina may not be used to such a heavy winter storm and said that’s why state resources can be essential in helping the counties.

In Pitt County, dozens of maintenance workers spent Tuesday and Wednesday de-icing the road.

They put out salt and brine to treat the streets and plan to have plows at the ready.

Pitt County has also activated its emergency information page, where updates will be provided.

Pitt County Emergency Management will maintain a partial activation of the Emergency Operation Center operating on 24-hour operational periods

Five Red Cross Shelter equipment trailers have been pre-deployed in the event they are needed.

The county has no plans to open any shelters at this time; however, operational plans and partnerships are in place to provide temporary locations to assist individuals if calls are received for stranded motorists or those who have lost all power/heat sources

Coordination has been made with the Red Cross to open shelters if they become necessary. Opening shelters will be done in partnership with the Red Cross on an as-needed basis

The city of New Bern is warning drivers the heaviest accumulation is expected along the Highway 17 corridor.

Public works crews started spreading a salt/sand mixture on city roadways Wednesday morning, and the NCDOT spread brines on bridges and overpasses.

City crews have also prepped and fueled snow removal equipment.

Trash and recycling services for city customers was running on schedule Wednesday and Thursday’s routes are expected to be weather dependent.

In Onslow County, crews have been out prepping for the snow.

Crew members checked all flashing lights and oil levels on the vehicles, and 50 additional tons of salt were brought in from Wilmington.

Brining the roads began Monday, so crews spent Wednesday checking bridges and overpasses for places in need of additional treatment.

“They’ll go through and make an initial pass and if they have to, they’ll put out salt to soften up the next layer and then they’ll come back and recheck as many times as necessary,” said Gerry Futrell, maintenance supervisor.

The Onslow Water and Sewer Authority wants residents to take precautions to keep their pipes from freezing.

“Wrap up all of those pipes with newspapers and plastic bags,” said Jeff Hudson, ONWANSA CEO. “Cover it all with duct tape and try to protect yourself.”

A number of schools and businesses across eastern North Carolina will be closed, click here for a full list of closings and delays. 

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