North Carolina

Friday roads update: You can get to Wilmington or New Bern, but not easily

Scenes of flooded roads across Eastern NC

Over 600 roads remain closed in NC, with waters continuing to rise across the eastern part of the state. NCDOT has been flying over many flooded areas capturing the devastating effect of Hurricane Florence.
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Over 600 roads remain closed in NC, with waters continuing to rise across the eastern part of the state. NCDOT has been flying over many flooded areas capturing the devastating effect of Hurricane Florence.

Roads to the southeast coast remain mostly closed by flooding, especially large sections of interstates 95 and 40, but a few routes have opened to allow slow, precarious travel.

Wilmington, which was inaccessible from any direction earlier this week, can now be reached from Morehead City to the north and Shallotte to the west — according to maps updated by the NC Department of Transportation. U.S. 17 has opened in either direction, allowing residents who fled Hurricane Florence last week to return.

Still, DOT urged motorists against driving in any of the southeast region ravaged by Florence, cautioning against travel anywhere south of U.S. 264 and east of I-73/74.



“We know that you can’t get to places that are on the other side of the water, but we are doing everything we can to get it clear where we can,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon in a press release Friday. “We are exercising patience and waiting for that water to go down.”

More than 1 million people were ordered to evacuate in North and South Carolina before Hurricane Florence. Here is a guide on how to travel safely back home.

On Friday morning, DOT listed 656 sections of roads closed in North Carolina, 13 of them on interstate highways.

Among the most heavily traveled:

I-95 is blocked off from milepost 56 to milepost 13 and from Dunn to Godwin, closing off most everything between U.2. 421 and Lumberton. Keep in mind that southbound lanes are closed in sections at both Benson and Rocky Mount.

I-40 is closed between N.C. 41 in Wallace to well over the New Hanover County line.

U.S. 421 is closed at the New Hanover/Pender County line, blocking a popular alternative to I-40.

U.S. 74 is closed in Columbus County between mileposts 253 and 258.

U.S. 70 is closed near Kinston between U.S. 258 and N.C. 58.

RAL_ KINSTON-NE-092018-RTW12.JPG
A Lenoir County deputy diverts traffic off of NC 55 east of Kinston after closing the road due to the rising level of the Neuse River on Thursday afternoon September 20, 2018. Heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in the west has brought the Neuse River to new flood levels forcing officials to close the road. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

DOT has suggested several routes around the flooding:

From Raleigh to New Bern

Take I-440 to U.S. 64 east.

Take exit 436 to U.S. 264 east and follow it through Greenville to Washington.

In Washington, take U.S. 264 to U.S. 17 south to New Bern.

To Morehead City

Follow the route to New Bern.

In New Bern, take U.S. 17 south to U.S. 70 east.

Take U.S. 70 east through Havelock to Morehead City.

To Wilmington

Follow the route to Morehead City.

In Morehead City, take N.C. 24 to Jacksonville.

In Jacksonville, take U.S. 17 south to Wilmington.

From Charlotte to New Bern and Morehead City

Take I-85 north to Greensboro.

Take I-40 east to I-540 in Raleigh.

Exit on U.S. 64 to U.S. 264

Take U.S. 264 to Washington

In Washington, follow U.S. 17 south to New Bern

From New Bern, follow U.S. 70 south to Morehead City

To Wilmington

Follow the route to Morehead City.

From Morehead City, follow U.S. 70 to N.C. 24

Take N.C. 24 west to Jacksonville

Take U.S. 17 south to Wilmington

Ferry routes

Meanwhile, much of the state’s ferry service has resumed.

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has reopened coastal service along the following routes:

Southport to Fort Fisher on a limited schedule for Brunswick County residents, essential vendors, medical and infrastructure personnel.

Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke Island on a limited schedule for essential personnel and residents. Ferry service for tourists is scheduled to resume on Friday morning.

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08

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