RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – With the potential for snow buildup this weekend, state and local crews have to prioritize which roads to clear first.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the first snowy spots to tackle are highways, highly traveled and often dangerous when high speeds mix with wintery weather.
“We will hit the U.S. routes, the state routes, the high traffic areas, your divided roadways,” Marty Homan with NCDOT said. “Then we will move to other primary routes.”
Those primary routes are ones that connect life-saving care like hospitals, fire and police departments, as well as frequent trouble spots like bridges.
“It may be a low-lying area, or in a shaded spot that doesn’t get sun, it can refreeze and be black ice and causes problems later,” Homan said.
Then come secondary road systems.
“Think of roads that might go from your neighborhood to the larger road that might be a state route, those are the roads that are in the secondary network that we’ll get to last,” Homan said.
Each city has its own priority system for roads that are not covered by NCDOT.
In Raleigh, the first routes cleared are what the city calls “arterial” routes, like Glenwood and New Bern avenues, South Saunders Street and Western Boulevard.
Then, the city will move to a priority-tiered system.
“Priority 1 routes are the priority below arterials and include routes such as Atlantic Avenue, Falls of Neuse Road, Millbrook Road, Gorman Street, Raleigh Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,” a city spokesperson said in a statement.
Raleigh’s street maintenance map and contacts can be found online here.
Weather can also impact other city services. Waste collection is suspended this weekend in Raleigh due to the weather. Curbside garbage, recycling, and yard waste will be suspended on Friday and Saturday. The City of Raleigh is asking residents to place their carts at the curb for Monday collection instead. The Yard Waste Center will be closed Friday-Sunday.
The City of Durham’s snow removal plan says primary streets include “Roxboro Street, Cornwallis Road, Fayetteville Street and NC Hwy 55 are cleared first, along with several other thoroughfares. Residential streets are plowed only after all primary and secondary streets have been cleared.”
According to Chapel Hill’s snow and ice FAQ, plowing operations begin when snow builds up to two inches or more.
You can view Chapel Hill’s priority roads and real-time conditions using its online map.