Snow problems persist through Wednesday for Caldwell

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 07:29 AM

Roughly 3 inches of snow, more than expected, caused mass closings and hazardous road conditions across the region, and the ordeal may not be over yet.

With snow melting under a bright sun and slightly warmer temperatures during the day, but remaining below freezing officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation and local emergency agencies worried that as the sun went down black ice could cause more problems last night and this morning than the snow did.

Kenny Heavner, the county maintenance engineer with the Department of Transportation, said crews worked through the night Tuesday to apply salt and sand to roads, and 17 DOT employees and 10 contractors were doing the same through Wednesday night.

“We’re pushing as hard as we can go,” Heavner said.

The focus starts on primary routes like U.S. 321, then moving to heavily trafficked secondary routes, paved secondary routes and subdivisions, and lastly unpaved routes.

Towing companies kept busy Tuesday and early Wednesday with stuck cars and mostly minor wrecks. Keith Keen, owner of Keen Towing in Lenoir, said his company towed 32 vehicles on Tuesday and a handful on Wednesday, including one vehicle that struck a mobile home on Malina Street in Sawmills.

One of the more serious accidents on Tuesday involved a Little River Volunteer Fire Department fire truck that went off the side of Oak Hill School Road about 4:45 p.m., down an embankment and overturned. No one was injured, but Little River Fire Chief Steve Brown said damage to the truck was extensive. The department is waiting for an insurance adjuster to determine the cost of repairing it.

In Caldwell County, 57 calls came in to the N.C. Highway Patrol on Tuesday, mostly for minor wrecks, 1st Sgt. Scott Byers said. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, traffic problems had "dropped off significantly."