I-40 WB Reopened in Durham

I-40 westbound was closed in Durham at Davis Drive (MM 280) due to an accident on Monday morning.  At least two cars were engulfed in flames as a result of the crash.

Traffic was diverted onto Davis Drive and back onto I-40.

There was stop-and-go traffic on I-40 westbound for several miles.  In the traffic, there was a second crash on westbound I-40 at MM 284.


I-40 WB Accident Near I-85 Merge Causes Friday Afternoon Traffic Trouble

An accident on I-40 approaching the merge to I-85 (Mile Marker 259) caused trouble for Friday afternoon commuters headed west in Orange County.  The left lane was blocked for westbound motorists.  Eventually, the wreckage was moved off of the road.

Drivers experienced stop and go traffic on I-40 westbound between New Hope Church Road and I-85.  There was also slow traffic for eastbound motorists.


Fire Closes Portion of I-40 in Orange County

****UPDATE: Traffic returned to normal late Thursday evening.****

One lane of westbound traffic on I-40 is getting through just before the merge with I-85 Thursday afternoon as emergency crews are cleaning up from an earlier fire.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said that his understanding that there was a fire after a 150-gallon hydraulic tank ruptured. He added that traffic was initially being diverted through Hillsborough before the lane of I-40 reopened.

Blackwood said his understanding was that the fire had been contained and that cleanup efforts were underway.

Traffic cameras show the backup nearing the 15-501 exit on I-40 westbound just after two o’clock Thursday afternoon.

Blackwood said that Highway Patrol and fire crews were on the scene handling traffic and cleanup. He added there is at least one residual wreck in the backed-up traffic.

There is no estimation for when traffic will be back to normal in the area.

Expect delays or avoid the area if possible.

This story will be updated as more information is made available.


Accident on I-40 WB at Old 86 (MM 261)

The left lane was blocked on I-40 westbound near Old Hwy 86 Wednesday afternoon due to an accident.  That is mile-marker 261.

Westbound I-40 traffic wass backed up several miles past the Hwy 86 exit in Chapel Hill.

The crash was moved off the road and traffic began to improve in the area.


134 Vehicles Involved in Sunday I-40 Wrecks in Alamance County

The final tally from the string of accidents that shut down I-40 in Mebane on Sunday includes 134 vehicles damaged and 25 injuries reported.

The total numbers were released on Monday morning.

Troopers say authorities responded to a multi-vehicle collision on I-40 in Alamance County Sunday afternoon when motorists traveling east failed to reduce speeds as heavy rain and fog caused driving conditions to quickly deteriorate.

Investigators initially found four different collisions involving nearly 25 vehicles blocking all of the eastbound travel lanes near the overpass of Jimmie Kerr Road.

Onlookers traveling west then began to reduce their speed as they were watching emergency crews work to clear the eastbound lanes, according to law enforcement.

That led to several multi-vehicle accidents over a four-mile stretch of I-40.

Troopers from Alamance, Guilford and Orange Counties responded to assist local police departments. EMC personnel from the surrounding area also responded due to the high volume of accidents.

All of those injured were taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center, according to the Highway Patrol, and no update was given on any of their conditions.

Both directions of travel were reopened late Sunday night.


Earlier Accident Blocked Left Lane on I-40 East in Chapel Hill

An accident caused traffic headaches for motorists on I-40 eastbound in Chapel Hill on Friday.

The accident blocked the left lane at the Sunrise Lane bridge approaching MM 266 near the Highway 86 exit.  Stalled traffic stretched back to US 15-501.

Crews moved the accident to the median which eased traffic congestion in the area.  Eventually, traffic returned to normal after the crash was cleared.

Westbound motorists also experienced slow traffic in the area, due to onlooker delays.


Sheriff: Thursday’s Incident “Apparent Suicide” UPDATE: Man Identified

Update 3:54 p.m.: The man who jumped to his death from an overpass of I-40 at exit 266 on Thursday has been identified by Orange County Medical Examiner Vincent Moylan as 53-year-old Charles J. Helpingstine of Chapel Hill. Helpingstine was one of the proprietors of Johnny T-Shirt on Franklin Street.

Moylan told WCHL the cause of death was blunt force head trauma.

Update 2:45 p.m.: The name of the decedent has not been released. The North Carolina medical examiner says it cannot release any details until the autopsy is complete and that any identifying information must be delivered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Multiple messages requesting the name have been left with Investigator Tim Horne, who the Sheriff’s office says is the only person there who can release that information.

Story originally posted August 15, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.

Orange County Sheriff Investigator Tim Horne says it’s “pretty clear” that Thursday’s death of a man who jumped from the overpass of I-40 at exit 266 is an apparent suicide.

Investigator Horne says all cases are treated as a homicide until ruled otherwise. He says, at this time, the Orange County medical examiner has the body and is performing an autopsy. He adds that the release of the name is up to the ME at this point and that a toxicology report will likely be conducted as well. Toxicology tests usually take about two weeks.

Four 911 calls were released Friday morning. The first call was placed at 12:15 p.m. from the driver who said he saw the man sitting on the ledge.

***Listener Discretion Is Advised***

The caller was clearly shaken during the call saying, “he just leapt”. The caller said he was turning from the offramp of I-40 onto Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard (NC-86) and noticed a car parked in a weird place. He said he attempted to go to the man, but before he could, he jumped. He fell onto the emergency shoulder of I-40 westbound, according to a release by the Sheriff’s department.

The caller remained on the overpass of I-40 and quickly other individuals attended to the man. He said one woman began performing CPR. Emergency officials arrived in less than four minutes from when the call was placed. They attempted to revive the individual, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another caller from inside her car said she was driving on I-40 westbound when she saw the man sitting on the overpass. She said she looked in her rearview mirror and saw the man jump.

***Listener Discretion Is Advised***

The two other calls that were released were from drivers passing by after the man jumped and saw him lying on the ground.

For more on the story, click here.


Man Does Not Survive Jump From I-40 Overpass

photo 3

Update 3:30 p.m.: The Orange County Sheriff Department confirmed that at 12:15 p.m. a male subject was seen sitting on the side wall of the NC-86 overpass of I-40. A passing driver called 911. A passerby attempted to approach the man, but before that person could reach him, the man jumped.

He fell in the emergency lane of I-40 westbound, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s department, and did not survive the fall. Emergency services attempted to revive the individual, but were unsuccessful.

The Sheriff’s department reported no vehicles on I-40 struck the decedent. The man’s name has not been released, pending family notification.

Update 2:35 p.m.: NC Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Jeff Gordon told WCHL that state troopers only assisted in shutting down portions of the road and were not involved in the investigation. The Orange County Sheriff Department is investigating, according to Lieutenant Gordon. He said officials were responding to a “subject on the bridge.”

No one was available to speak in the Orange County Sheriff Office as of 2:45 p.m. Thursday, according to a receptionist.

Story originally posted August 14, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

Police are investigating an incident that occurred around noon Thursday on I-40 at NC-86, exit 266.

Chapel Hill Police, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff, Orange County Emergency Services, and the New Hope Fire Department responded to the overpass of NC-86 and I-40 and shut down the right lane and shoulder of the interstate. The right lane of NC-86 was also shut down on the overpass. Traffic quickly backed up on I-40 WB to NC-54, exit 273.

photo 4A Chapel Hill Police officer standing on the overpass at the scene said the area was closed due to an active investigation, but could not give any additional details about the incident.



Triangle Expressway Toll Increases 5% With New Year

TRIANGLE – Commuters using the Triangle Expressway will pay more in 2014 as the rates increased nearly five percent Wednesday to pay off the bond that helped build it.

The increase was scheduled to take place and isn’t a change in the plan. But, now commuters traveling on the road every day will pay an extra $67.60 per year.

The first phase of the project opened in December 2011; phase two opened in August 2012; the third phase opened December 2012.

With the discounted rate using an NC Quick Pass, the rate to travel the full length one way is $2.77 up from $2.64.


NCDOT Awards Contract For I-40/440 Rebuilding

RALEIGH – Two firms have won contracts from the N.C. Department of Transportation to rebuild the southern portion of Interstate 40/440 around Raleigh.

The department announced Tuesday the team of Granite Construction Company and RS&H Architects-Engineers-Planners Inc. won contracts. NCDOT engineers estimated the project would cost $193,428,882. Granite/RS&H had the lowest bid of $130,129,000.

The project requires rebuilding 11.5 miles from west of Jones Franklin Road in Cary to north of U.S. 64/264 in Raleigh. The road is more than 30 years old, and is crumbling because of a chemical reaction between the rock and the cement.

Officials will work to leave three lanes open in each direction on the I-40 portion of the project, instead of two. That’s expected to greatly reduce traffic backups in and around the project area.