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I-Team: DOT catching heat after widespread accidents reported Friday morning

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is coming under fire for what became a dangerous Friday morning commute for countless drivers in the Triangle.

No salt or sand went down on the roads on state-owned roads, which paved the way for a slippery morning.

Vehicles spun out, crashing, and even flipped over on major highways because of black ice.

State DOT officials certainly had extra man power. At first, we were told they used the help, but then we learned they didn't, and they are standing by that decision.

There was a fleet of trucks brought in from the coast to help spread salt and sand overnight Thursday into Friday morning that sat unused until 7 a.m.

"We had, as the governor mentioned, crews from the eastern seaboard come to the Triangle and plow all night long and clear roads all night long," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata Friday morning.

However, the I-Team learned that only five trucks worked Wake County state roads all night long.

"Our original plan with the forecast that was given at the start of the day was to have them run the interstate routes," said NC DOT Engineer Britt McCurry. "The forecast changed last night. We didn't get as much snow. We sent them home to get some rest."

McCurry said because of the cold weather black ice was inevitable.

"No matter how many people we had out there, you're still going to have black ice," said McCurry. "That cannot be helped."

In Raleigh, transportation officials decided differently. They dispatched crews out in full force from midnight to 6 a.m.

"There's not a whole lot you can do about it you know," said Raleigh Transportation Manager Chris McGee. "Once the temperatures drop too low, but I think the low last night was about 25 or something like that."

Evidently it made an impact. The Capital City saw little trouble in the morning. So, could it have worked for the state? McCurry says no.

"Black ice is going to happen regardless of what we do," said McCurry.

However, Tata had this to say about the state's response as a whole earlier in the day.

"We're reviewing the call of plus delta -- you know the things we did well and the things that we can improve on," said Tata.

If you're wondering why those 16 relief crews from out of town weren't used last night. The I-Team was told, in part, it's because they didn't know the routes. They were brought in to give local drivers relief, and push new snow off the interstates.

However, there was none to push. So they were sent home because they didn't know the other roads.

Between Wednesday and Friday afternoon, Raleigh alone logged 206 wrecks.

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north carolina news, raleigh news, durham county news, wake county news, iteam, abc11 investigates
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