The N.C. State Highway Patrol urged motorists on Wednesday afternoon to avoid both Interstate 95 and U.S. 301 if at all possible in Robeson County.
Currently, both northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95 have been closed between Exit 13 (the U.S. 74-Interstate 95 interchange) and Exit 56 (in Cumberland County) due to flooding conditions.
U.S. 301 south of Fayetteville is closed to all traffic with the exception of emergency vehicles and local residents.
Furthermore, motorists are being advised not to rely on GPS to navigate in and around U.S. 301 and Interstate 95 as they travel into Robeson County. Relying on the GPS will result in the motoring public being re-routed to primary routes such as US301and secondary routes that are inaccessible due to continuous flooding, officials said.
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Interstate 95 has been plagued with troubles in the past four days, due to record setting rainfall dumped on the state by Hurricane Matthew over the weekend: nearly 18 inches of rain in some areas.
As of noon Wednesday, roughly 43 miles of Interstate 95 southbound remains closed, between Exit 56 and Exit 13. On Interstate 95 northbound side, nine miles are closed between Exit 13 and Exit 22.
State officials say the closures are changing daily as flood waters continue to recede, but maintenance engineers expect approximately 18 miles of Interstate 95 between Exit 13 and Exit 31 could remain closed for several weeks due to the significant damage.
The N.C. Highway Patrol issued an alternative route to carry drivers around flooded areas of the state, which officials say adds an additional 100 miles for travelers. Shorter detours are in place to route local traffic around the interstate damage.
Robert Broome, of the N.C. Department of Transportation, said the biggest impact of the flooding was in the area from St. Pauls to Lumberton, where high waters “extensively damaged” multiple spots approaching interstate bridges.
Conditions in that stretch have not allowed for inspections to be complete, he said, but engineers anticipate extensive repairs are needed. Those repairs could take several weeks.
A seven-mile stretch of Interstate 40 is also closed in the Newton Grove area, state officials said Wednesday.
Below are details on the localized detours and the broader alternative route suggested for out-of-state travelers.
Traffic traveling northbound on Interstate 95 should use the following detour information.
- All northbound traffic will be required to exit onto US 74 west (Exit 13) and travel westbound towards Laurinburg
- Once on US 74, motorists will then travel towards US 15-501 north
- Once on US 15-501, motorists will then travel to US 1 towards Sanford
- Once on US 1, motorists will travel north to I-40 east until merging onto Interstate 95
Traffic traveling southbound on Interstate 95 from Interstate 40 should use the following detour information.
- All southbound traffic will be required to exit off onto business Interstate (Exit 56) and travel toward NC 162 west
- Motorist will then travel NC 162 west toward US 401south
- Once on US 401 south, motorist will travel to US 74 east
- Once on US 74 east, motorist will travel to exit for Interstate 95 south
To avoid congestion on the provided detour route, motorist entering North Carolina from Virginia on Interstate 95 are encouraged to use the following detour:
- All southbound traffic from North Carolina/Virginia state line should travel south on Interstate 95 to Interstate 40 west
- Once on I-40 west, travel west toward Sanford/US 1 south
- Motorist will then travel US 1 south to US 501 south
- Once on 501 south, travel toward US 74 east
- Motorist will then travel US 74 east to Interstate 95 south
Advance warning has been implemented with NCDOT message boards along the entire Interstate 95 corridor to include NCDOT’s 511 system.
The State Highway Patrol cautions motorists not to drive through standing water since it’s impossible to know how deep the water is or how swiftly it could be moving. Never drive around barriers, which are in place for your protection.
Motorists are asked not to call 911 or *HP (*47) for roadway information. For updated information on road closures, visit ReadyNC.org., the ReadyNC mobile app or call 511.