Wake Forest, N.C. — Dozens of roads across the state remain closed after heavy rains on Saturday cause flooding that sometimes washed out the roadway, state officials said Monday.
U.S. Highway 401 near the Wake-Franklin county line and N.C. Highway 96 and N.C. Highway 97, both near Zebulon, are the only major routes still closed, state Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said. Another 47 secondary roads in the Triangle and in counties northwest of Charlotte also are closed, he said.
Heavy rain caused sections of U.S. 401 to collapse between N.C. 96 and N.C. Highway 98 in northeastern Wake County. Video of the damage shows water rushing through where the highway washed out.
Crews were able to respond before someone got hurt, but the state Department of Transportation said the damage could take weeks to repair.
“Most of the primary roads in North Carolina are designed by standard to meet 50-year storms,” Trogdon said during a news conference. “Seven and a half inches [of rain] in four hours … that’s a 1,000-year storm event.”
About 20,000 vehicles travel along that stretch of highway daily, Trogdon said – he estimated that 70 percent of Franklin County residents work in Wake County, with U.S. 401 being a primary route – so Department of Transportation officials are trying to repair as quickly as possible.
He couldn’t put a estimate on either when the highway would reopen or how much the repairs would cost.
U.S. 401 was already in the process of being widened from two lanes to four lanes in the area, so a contractor is on site, Trogdon said DOT engineers are meeting with the contractor to determine what extra work now needs to be done.
A precast culvert to direct water under the highway is in production, he said, but it’s unclear whether the state can get that from the factory sooner than planned.
The Wake County Public School System issued a statement Sunday reminding students and parents that school buses may be late Monday as drivers navigate wet roads.
The flood risk for central North Carolina on Monday is low, according to WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner, and any heavy rain that does fall will be after 10 p.m.
N.C. 97 was closed near the Little River. The Zebulon Police Department posted, “The water has receded, however…this still does not make the bridge safe or passable. Do NOT attempt. Do NOT move our barricades put in place for your convenience.”
“This weekend was part of our new normal when it comes to weather,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Sudden and severe weather can strike at any time.”
Damage and flooding was also reported in Durham, where a building flooded for the fifth time in 10 years, the owner of the health services business Oriental Health Solutions said on Saturday.
A section of the Bryan Center at Duke University was closed on Sunday due to flooding damage. Repairs to the student center were underway.
Three people in western North Carolina died in floodwaters on Saturday when their car washed away on a flooded road.
Published at Mon, 10 Jun 2019 17:31:23 +0000