Area roads remain hazardous, public urged to stay put

Conditions on Charlotte-Mecklenburg area roads are only slightly better this morning than they were Wednesday, but with more snow coming, officials are warning people to stay off the streets.

City and county offices released a joint advisory around 6:30 a.m. warning that roads remain “extremely dangerous” and that “people are strongly urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”

The National Guard had to help rescue a Medic crew and their ambulance Thursday morning in southwest Charlotte.

The ambulance, which was making a medical call, got stuck on Farmhurst Drive, off Nations Ford Road. After crews were unable to free the vehicle, two Humvees carrying National Guard troops were called to help.

The soldiers were among about 100 National Guard troops dispatched to Charlotte by Gov. Pat McCrory to help during the storm.

Shortly after 11 a.m., officials in Harrisburg said authorities had closed Robinson Church Road between Stallings Road and Tom Query Road because of hazardous road conditions. A number of other roads across the Charlotte area were reported to be in very bad condition at the time.

Farther to the north, the N.C. Highway Patrol reported a tractor-trailer jacknifed on Interstate 77 in Statesville about 10:45 a.m. The wreck took place near mile marker 49, and all lanes were reported blocked. Snow was falling at the time. State transportation officials said it could take two hours to clear the wreck.

In Charlotte's uptown area, some streets were in much better condition Thursday morning than Wednesday evening. Tryon and McDowell streets, for example, had travel lanes cleared and traffic was moving.

However, some of the east-west streets remained snow-covered. Shortly before 6:45 a.m., several people had to push a car that could not climb a small hill on Stonewall Street.

Road crews had treated Morehead Street, and it was passable Thursday morning. One travel lane was open in each direction, and a plow truck made a pass on the road shortly before 7 a.m.

At 7:30 a.m., interstate exit and entrance ramps remain hazardous, especially around uptown. Plows have created snow banks that have to be crossed in order to get on or off the ramps.

Shortly after 7 a.m., I-85 near uptown showed signs of plowing with multiple lanes usable, but still remained snow covered.

Brookshire Boulevard between I-85 and uptown had two lanes open in each direction around 7:15 a.m., with very clear but wet pavement. While it appeared to be in better shape than 85, at least one vehicle remained on the side of the road in each direction, having clearly slid off sometime Wednesday or overnight.

On Freedom Drive, from I-85 into uptown, the street didn’t show obvious signs of plowing around 7 a.m. There was one lane open in each direction, with slushy snow gathered in pre-existing tire tracks. A few gas stations along Freedom Drive appeared to be open.

Outside the city, conditions were very slippery.

In Matthews, crews had cleared one travel lane in each direction on East Independence Boulevard, and traffic was moving at about 25 mph before daybreak.

Officials in Matthews also urged people to stay off the roads, estimating 6 inches of snow and 2 of ice have fallen. “Salt and plows are ineffective at this point,” a town spokesperson said.

Also around daybreak, conditions were not so good on N.C. 51 and Idlewild Road, which were snow-covered and slippery. A coat of ice covered the snow and slush in the intersection of Idlewild Road and N.C. 51.

Check back for updates.

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