Multiple vehicles pileup on black ice

February 4, 2010 3:36:25 PM PST
Authorities reported multiple wrecks throughout Durham County due to icy conditions Thursday morning. As of 7 a.m., 911 dispatch told ABC11 Eyewitness News it had responded to about 10 wrecks -- all due to black ice.

Two lanes of the Durham Freeway were closed Thursday morning as authorities worked to clear a multi-vehicle pileup.

Police told ABC11 seven or eight vehicles collided after hitting black ice. At least three people were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

It happened just before 6 a.m. on southbound Highway 147 between the Chapel Hill and Mangum St. ramps at Duke Street. Officials say a sheet of ice formed on the highway after runoff from melted snow froze overnight.

DOT trucks were dispatched to the area to spread sand on the highway.

Records show even though state police called the DOT about black ice on the road at 4:24 a.m. a truck wasn't dispatched for a full hour, because a driver had to be called in.

Durham County DOT Maintenance Engineer Ashley Pilkington says Wednesday night was the first night in many there was no skeleton crew on duty at the DOT in Durham County despite significant snow runoff during the day.

Meanwhile in southern Durham County, authorities reported multiple crashes on 15-501.

The first one happened at Cornwallis Rd. around 6:15 a.m. Four cars wiped out on the highway, shutting down both northbound lanes.

Police also closed 15-501 at MLK Parkway after a vehicle wrecked on a northbound ramp. Authorities say both of those wrecks were probably because of black ice. It is not known how many people were injured in those incidents.

And near Cornwallis Road and TW Alexander Dr., five vehicles wiped out. There's no word on injuries in that incident.

Pilkington said crews have been working 11 days straight to clear roads, but they didn't anticipate what happened Thursday morning.

"There's some areas that we know of that we can go ahead and pretreat," Pilkington told ABC11. "But then there's some areas you just wouldn't know of. You just have to depend on the Highway Patrol or the cops to give you a call about those locations."

The DOT said it will send crews out at midnight and at 4 a.m. to salt and sand roadways and then crews will have to get ready for the weekend.

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