Heavy rains damage roads in surrounding counties
The N.C. Department of Transportation is working to assess damage to several roads in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Stanly counties due to recent heavy rains. Each case presents its own unique set of challenges for maintenance and bridge forces, and some areas cannot yet be assessed until water levels recede.
Some closures will not have posted detours if less than 300 vehicles use the road per day. Motorists should not attempt to drive through or around barricades for their own safety.
John White Road is closed between Cal Bost Road and Flowes Store Road East in Midland. A pipe failure washed away shoulder and asphalt, exposing some utilities;
Walker Road is closed between N.C. 49 and Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant. A pipe failure has exposed an unsupported tunnel under the roadway;
Zion Church Road is closed at Flowes Store Road west of Mount Pleasant. An end section of pipe has collapsed, causing pavement failure;
Harris Road is closed between Poplar Tent Road and the Skybrook subdivision. A section of pipe has been crushed, causing damage to the shoulder and travel lane; and
Bowman Barrier Road is down to one lane between Hahn Scott Road and Long Run Farm Road in Mount Pleasant. A possible pipe failure is reportedly causing voids underneath the asphalt.
Gilead Road is closed at McCoy Road in Huntersville. A pipe failure has caused the roadway to sag several feet. A detour is in place for traffic;
Bud Henderson Road is closed west of Gilead Road in Huntersville. A sinkhole has formed in the pavement due to possible pipe failure; and
Autumncrest Road is closed in Huntersville due to a washout.
Nelson Mountain Road is closed near N.C. 73 west of Albemarle due to a pipe collapse;
Pole Running Road is closed north of Locust due to debris collection below the bridge structure. Part of the travel lane and shoulder have also been damaged;
Bridgeport Road is closed northeast of Oakboro, as floodwaters have washed away the bridge railing. Current water levels will not allow access to make repair assessments; and
Fink Road is closed at Austin Road west of Albemarle due to a structure failure.
NCDOT offers these safety tips for driving in wet weather:
• Allow more travel time and keep vehicle tires and brakes in good working condition. Buckle your own seat belt and secure children in child safety seats or booster seats in the back of the vehicle;
• Reduce your speed and drive defensively. Motorists should drive at least 5 to 10 miles per hour slower on wet pavement and allow at least twice the normal following distance between cars to provide ample room for stopping. Keep a distance between your car and the one in front of you. Be ready for a sudden stop. Remember that the driver behind you cannot see well either. Signal for turns ahead of time and brake early as you near a stop. Be patient and do not pass lines of traffic;
• Stay in the car and wait for the heavy rain to let up. Roads are the slickest once rain has begun to fall, especially if it has not rained for a while. For the first 10 to 15 minutes, the rain combines with dirt, dust, oil, grease and rubber to create a slippery surface. If the rain is extremely heavy, stop and pull over with your emergency flashers on, away from any trees or other tall objects. If motorists must exit the vehicle, they should do so on the passenger side of the car;
• Turn on your low beam headlights and use the defroster to increase visibility whether it is day or night. North Carolina law states that motorists must use their headlights at all times while using windshield wipers regardless of the time of day. High beams, or “brights,” could reflect off the fog and decrease visibility;
• If possible, stay in the middle lane. Most American roads are higher in the middle, so there is a greater chance of water runoff and standing water in the side lanes;
• After driving through a puddle, tap your brake pedal to help dry your brake rotors. Try to avoid pools of standing water; they could be hiding holes in the pavement. Do not try to cross running water;
•It is best to take shelter and wait out the storm at a rest stop or other public place. If you take shelter under an overpass or bridge, park on the shoulder and be careful not to block traffic. The weather could reduce visibility, and other drivers may have difficulty seeing your vehicle;
• Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded roadway ahead, turn around and take an alternate route to your destination. If there is no alternate route, head to higher ground and wait for the water to subside. Do not attempt to cross over a flooded road even if it seems shallow. Just 1 foot of water can float many vehicles, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups;
• Do not drive if you are tired or distracted. Driving in wet weather requires you to be alert, particularly at night. If you are tired, pull off the road to a safe place and take a break, or better yet, postpone your trip. You should also avoid eating, drinking, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio or handing items to children in the back seat – anything requiring you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel momentarily;
• Know what to do if your car begins to hydroplane. Hydroplaning occurs when your tires glide across the surface of the water on the road. If your car starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas, but do not stomp on the brakes. Instead, apply the brakes in a steady, slightly firm manner, and steer in the direction of the skid. If you have a manual transmission (i.e. stick shift), push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own. If you have an automatic transmission, hold the steering wheel steady and lightly apply the brakes. For cars that have antilock brakes, you should apply more pressure (steady) to the brakes, but avoid pumping them; and
• Put together a supply kit for your trunk. Include a flashlight, first aid kit with an instructional manual, blanket, booster cables, shovel, sand to give tires needed traction, snacks and drinking water, and safety flares or an orange or red cloth to tie to the antenna.