North Carolina State transportation officials are prepared for Ian and are urging people to avoid any unnecessary travel starting Friday into the weekend.
“This storm could make travel treacherous in North Carolina,” said J. Eric Boyette, North Carolina’s Transportation Secretary. “Please monitor your local weather and if you don’t need to be on the roads, stay home.”
More than 2,200 N.C. Department of Transportation employees in all 100 counties have prepared equipment for possible clearing efforts, repairs and pipe replacements after the storm passes.
NCDOT has readied 374 backhoes and loaders, 223 motor graders, 1,436 chainsaws and 1,371 trucks so they can clear downed trees and other debris from roads as soon as possible. Transportation crews have also ensured dozens of portable generators are ready, and that traffic services offices are staging message boards. Also, crews have loaded emergency trailers with 4,623 barricades, 3,698 high water signs and 2,749 road closure signs so they can be deployed as needed.
Staff have also examined flood-prone areas to ensure grates, storm drains and culverts are clear. Crews in some flood-prone areas have been staging equipment to expedite the state’s response. NCDOT staff have also instructed contractors on active construction projects to secure cones and message boards due to possible high winds. Road construction statewide will be paused due to severe weather impacts.
NCDOT divisions have arranged to have staff on-call to respond around-the-clock throughout the weekend and have placed contractors on standby.
Once NCDOT crews can assess the damage, the agency will work to get roads open as quickly as possible and will use emergency contracts if needed.
“Until it is safe, people should stay off the roads in storm-affected areas,” said Joey Hopkins, NCDOT’s chief operating officer. “Don’t drive through roads with standing water, and never drive around barricades. They are there to protect you.”
Safe driving tips can be found at ncdot.gov.
New advance flood-warning system
This storm will mark the first time North Carolina officials will use the state’s new advanced flood-warning system during a major weather event. The system relies on data from a network of 400 river and stream gauges so NCDOT and State Emergency Management officials can analyze, map and communicate in real-time any flood risks to roads, bridges and culverts. The system will enable NCDOT to know more quickly where and when to close roads and alert first responders and the public. Real-time travel updates can be found at DriveNC.Gov.
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