Road conditions improving in New Bern, Craven County - WRBL

Road conditions improving in New Bern, Craven County

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

People in Craven County are still recovering from the first major snowstorm of the season.

Major roads are mostly plowed, and side roads are getting there too. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says teamwork helped make it possible.

Within the NCDOT, the road maintenance unit that's responsible for clearing the snow. But this year, other units within the agency lent a significant helping hand.

"I was very pleased with how we were able to perform," Gordy Eure, NCDOT county engineer. "We have a bridge maintenance unit. They were able to come in here and they sat 24 hours a day with us just making brine."

Three days after the storm, U.S. 70, U.S. 17, Glenburnie Road, Neuse Boulevard, and other major roads are mostly clear.

Eure says the bridge unit and the bituminous unit, which resurfaces roads, contributed 20 full-time staffers, doubling the amount of people working to remove snow to about 40 people.

"These guys worked really hard," said Grady Raynor, NCDOT bituminous division supervisor.

Eure says the other units also contributed four dump trucks, meaning there were 4 extra trucks on the road during every shift.

People who live in New Bern are glad to see the results.

"These folks around here, they might be grumbled at, but they kept us safe and did a good job," said Maryanne Brinson, a New Bern resident.

With budget cuts in staff and personnel, Eure says he hopes the other units can contribute even more resources during the next winter storm.

"So what I've taken away from this storm is how to increase cooperation inside the DOT," said Eure.

DOT says all the primary roads in Craven County are clear, so they spent all day today working on the roads.

He says this year there was also more cooperation between the DOT units in different counties, with Craven County also plowing Beaufort County roads, and vice versa.

"The whole division came together as a team and accomplished the mission," said Raynor.

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Much of the streets in New Bern are covered with snow. But crews made some progress Thursday morning.

Crews around the city and county worked to plow streets. At the same time, workers shoveled thick snow off the steps of city offices.

Since before sunrise Thursday morning, plows cleaned major roads and bridges, especially Highway 17 to Washington and Highway 70 into Morehead City.

Drivers  found primary roads clear, but warn other of the ice underneath.

"What's really amazing is how much ice there is," said Freelen Frayle, driver. "It just hasn't melt."

Craven County Emergency Services Director, Stanley Kite says they've got primary roads clear, but prefer people stay at home.

"DOT had been working really hard to get the main corridors open, which are considered part of our primary infrastructure, in order to get supplies back into the area," said Stanley Kite, Director of Emergency Services. "We still have very dangerous conditions on all the side roads, the secondary roads. A lot of municipal streets are still snow packed with ice underneath."

DOT Officials say all primary roads in Craven and Pamlico Counties are clear. Crews began plowing secondary roads Thursday afternoon. Those are the roads getting people from their homes, and into town.

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Folks in New Bern are spending most of the day indoors.  The winter storm dropped more than two inches of snow throughout the city Tuesday night.

Maintenance crews are working round the clock to clear major roads like U.S. 17, before getting to side roads. Even with the plowing, it's sometimes hard to see where one lane ends and another driver's lane begins.

Snow and ice contributed to several crashes Tuesday night. The Craven County Emergency Services office says five cars slipped off the road into a ditch.

One car in New Bern became stuck in the snow around 5 PM on Hotel Drive in New Bern on Wednesday, after the driver tried to make a right turn onto Martin Luther King Boulevard. About half a dozen people, including police, helped push the car out of the snow.

Despite the disruptions caused by the weather, some people are finding ways to enjoy it.

"All I like about the snow is we get to make snow angels and we can play snow fights," said New Bern resident Shelby Mbalanga.

Kids are off from school, many adults are off from work. Some people walked around downtown just to soak in the sight of the snow.

"Just walking around looking at all the snow by the river, it's just gorgeous," said Lucy Blanton, New Bern resident.

The winter weather made the city of New Bern and Craven County cancel trash pick-up on Wednesday. It'll resume Thursday, weather permitting. Meanwhile, public transportation in the county and outbound U.S. Airways flights at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport were canceled.

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