It began around 6 a.m. when an accident in the eastbound lanes slowed traffic on Interstate 40 at Fayetteville Road, Exit 276, in Durham.
Later, a tractor-trailer loaded with plywood overturned on the ramp from U.S. 264 to Interstate 440 East toward Poole Road in Raleigh.
In the Durham accident, police said an eastbound SUV collided with a tractor-trailer, causing the SUV to flip over a guardrail and down an embankment. The SUV landed next to N.C. 54. The driver, Norman Burwick, 51, of Durham, was taken to Duke University Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.
Traffic was down to one lane on I-40 East between the N.C. 751 and N.C. 55 exits. All lanes were open by 9:30 a.m. but delays went on for a couple of hours.
Frustrated drivers sought alternative routes, but many ended up sitting in traffic jams.
In the Raleigh accident, a police spokesman said the driver of the big-rig that flipped on the ramp from US 264 to I-440E was not hurt, but the cleanup was expected to take several hours.