I-95 Completely Reopens After Hurricane Florence Floods Recede

Parts of I-40 open to traffic
By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
September 25, 2018Updated: September 25, 2018

Interstate 95 completely reopened to traffic throughout North Carolina, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

“I-95 is a major artery for North Carolina and the entire East Coast that’s essential for commerce,” Cooper said in a Sept. 23 statement. “Our state DOT crews and engineers have worked around the clock to get this critical interstate open ahead of schedule and reduce traffic in areas still needed for critical lifesaving missions.”

Interstate 40 was reopened on Monday, according to a statement by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The Department also noted that travel was not advised in portions of southeastern North Carolina.

“I-40 has reopened from NC 41 (Exit 385) to Wilmington.  There are currently 2 eastbound lanes open and one westbound lane open,” the NCDOT said, but warned that closures elsewhere were still in effect.

“Although water has receded on some roads, the roads and bridges may be damaged and the road closures are still in effect,” NCDOT stated. “Signage should be adhered to.”

Floodwaters recede in Wilmington
Floodwaters from the Cape Fear River cover Water Street in downtown Wilmington, N.C., Sept. 23, 2018. (Matt Born/The Star-News via AP)

Cooper’s office said that floodwaters covering the interstate in the wake of Hurricane Florence receded quicker than expected, allowing the NCDOT to finish necessary inspections and repairs.

Engineers began inspecting the road as soon as the floodwaters from Hurricane Florence started to recede, Cooper’s office said, and noted that portions of I-95 have been closed since Sept. 15.

Traffic is diverted on I-95 due to flooding
Traffic takes exit 65 from northbound I-95 after it was closed due to floodwaters crossing the highway from Hurricane Florence passing through the area on Sept. 15, 2018, in Godwin, N.C. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“I want to thank our construction partners, the State Highway Patrol, the Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau, and local officials,” said NCDOT Secretary Jim Trogdon. “They were integral to us successfully managing traffic during the closure and quickly reopening the highway.”

Cooper cautioned that travel remains treacherous in portions of southeastern North Carolina.

road closed sign
Barricades block a flooded road near Georgetown, S.C., on Sept. 24, 2018. Officials in Georgetown County have asked for thousands of people to evacuate as the floodwaters from Hurricane Florence make their way to the ocean. (Jeffrey Collins/AP Photo)

“Hundreds of roads across our state remain closed, and flooded and damaged roads remain a danger in many areas. Never drive on flooded roads or around road closure barricades,” Cooper warned. “The barricades are there for a reason. The roads may be unsafe, underwater or in some areas missing.”

Kayaks on a flooded road in South Carolina
Kayaks on Long Avenue pass flooded sections of the Sherwood Drive community of Conway, S.C., on Sept. 23, 2018. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

NCDOT said the US-70 is open between I-95 and the coast with one lane closed in each direction in Kinston.

US 74 is open from I-95 to Wilmington.

NCDOT warned motorists to avoid unnecessary travel in the following counties:

•Bladen and Wayne due to the flooding and/or washout of multiple major travel routes.

•Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland due to the flooding and/or washout of multiple North Carolina and secondary routes.

As of 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, 455 road closures remained statewide.