Durham Police Investigating Fatal Accident

Durham Police are investigating a fatal accident that shut down a portion of N.C. 54 Monday.

Police say a passing motorist saw a car partially submerged in a swamp around 7:15 Monday morning.

Officers responded and found an overturned Honda Accord in the swampy area between Garret Road and Parkridge Road.

Authorities found 25-year-old Nelson Corea, of Durham, near the vehicle, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators say it appears Corea was ejected from the vehicle after running off the road while driving west on 54. Corea apparently struck a guardrail and overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to police.

Investigators believe the accident happened after 12:30 Monday morning.

No further information is available at this time.


Public Meetings for New, Faster Bus Line

Chapel Hill Transit is in the final stages of planning a new bus line and is looking for public input.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Chapel Hill Transit will hold three public meetings to discuss the North – South Corridor Study. The purpose of the study was to find a way to improve transportation from the Eubanks Road Park and Ride Lot to Southern Village.

The answer is a new, roughly seven-mile, Bus Rapid Transit line that would travel down Martin Luther King Boulevard towards 15-501 South in dedicated lanes. Developing a Bus Rapid Transit line could involve creating special bus lanes, building enclosed stations for easier boarding and giving buses priority at intersections.

The benefits, according to Chapel Hill Transit, include faster and more reliable commutes, reduced traffic gridlock and safer roadways due to fewer vehicles.

Chapel Hill Transit has been working with the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and UNC on the project since 2014. Once a specific route is decided, Chapel Hill Transit will present the final plans to the Town Council for adoption.

The public is welcome to attend the meetings to speak with project staff and to learn more about the project.

• Jan. 20 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — NC Children’s Hospital stage area, 101 Manning Drive, Chapel Hill
• Jan. 20 – 4 to 6 p.m. — Southern Village, 410 Market Street Lobby(next to Rasa Malaysia), Chapel Hill
• Jan. 21 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — UNC Carolina Union, West Lounge, 3103 South Rd, Chapel Hill


Durham Roadway Shut Down After Vehicle Strikes Power Poles

Old Oxford Highway in Durham is shut down between Hamlin Road and Hebron Road after a Wednesday morning accident.

Durham Police say a vehicle hit three power poles and knocked the lines to the ground.

The diver was taken to the hospital after suffering injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening, according to law enforcement.

Authorities say the road may be shut down for several hours. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.


Jones Ferry Road Reconfiguration Starts Monday

A busy stretch of Jones Ferry Road is going on a diet.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is breaking ground Monday on a road diet project that will trim travel lanes between Highway 54 and Barnes Street in Carrboro.

According to DOT officials, the half-mile span has been the site of numerous bicycle and pedestrian accidents in the past five years.

The road diet plan will reduce through lanes from four to two, and add turn lanes, a median, bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and a traffic signal at Davie Road, all in an effort to improve safety.

Construction will take place daily between 7 a.m and 9 p.m. Drivers should plan for alternating lane closures and delays throughout the process, which is expected to be completed in March of next year.


One Killed in Fiery Wreck on Highway 86 in Cedar Grove

The driver of a tractor-trailer carrying propane was killed in a wreck in northern Orange County just after 6:30 this morning.

All northbound lanes of NC 86 near Cedar Grove were closed after the wreck at the intersection of NC 86 and Sawmill Road.

State Troopers say a preliminary investigation shows a 2007 Chevrolet sedan was traveling west on Sawmill Road toward NC 86 in Cedar Grove when it failed to stop at a stop sign and traveled into the intersection, striking the right side of the tractor trailer.

The tractor trailer then overturned and caught on fire, according to law enforcement. The sedan came to rest in a near-by yard.

The driver of the truck was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel.

The driver of the sedan was taken to Duke Hospital with serious injuries, according to authorities.

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


AAA: Labor Day Travel To Hit 7-Year High

North Carolina will see the highest number of Labor Day travelers in nearly a decade, according to AAA Carolinas.

Spokesperson Tiffany Wright says low gas prices could be fueling that wanderlust.

“Folks are going to see the lowest prices they’ve seen in 11 years,” says Wright. “Right now the statewide average is about $2.22 per gallon. It’s gone down seven cents in a week and 43 cents since July 4. We’ve seen the downward trend here. Motorists right now are paying $1.10 less per gallon than they were the same time a year ago for Labor Day.”

More than 880,000 people are expected to hit the road over the long holiday weekend. Myrtle Beach, Greensboro, Orlando, Gatlinberg and Asheville are the top travel destinations for drivers.

While gas prices are dropping, hotel rates are headed up. Wright says room rates are rising between 2 percent and 10 percent compared to last year.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the demand,” says Wright. “When you talk about gas prices and you have more people traveling, especially driving, you have a lot of hotels trying to be competitive. It’s all about competition in the market.”

This Labor Day, hotel rates are estimated to be higher than in any of the past five years.

If you’re heading out for one last road trip before summer ends, you can expect to see checkpoints and stepped-up police patrols, as law enforcement officials conduct this year’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign to get intoxicated drivers off the road.

You won’t see much construction on the highways, as the North Carolina Department of Transportation is suspending work on current projects until 9 o’clock Tuesday morning.


Cyclist Hit at Franklin-Columbia Intersection on Tuesday

A female cyclist was transported to UNC Hospitals on Tuesday afternoon after being struck by a vehicle, Chapel Hill Police confirmed on Wednesday.

WCHL first reported the collision based off of eye-witness reports that the crash occurred around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets.

A police official says the cyclist suffered “serious but not life-threatening” injuries.

The spokesperson adds the driver of the vehicle stopped and was cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.

No further information is available at this time concerning the status of the cyclist.


Traffic Blocked on Hillsborough Street

A tree is leaning on a power line on Hillsborough Street in Chapel Hill.

Hillsborough St_2

The road is closed from Bolinwood Road through Rosemary Street, according to fire officials.

They anticipate the road being closed for “a while.”

Avoid the area. No traffic is being allowed through.


Memorial Day Motorists Expected To Hit 10-Year High

If you’re hitting the road this weekend, you won’t be alone. AAA Carolina’s Tiffany Wright says 1,029,500 North Carolinians are expected to come along for the ride.

“That’s the highest number that we’ve seen in ten years, so lots more folks on the road this Memorial Day holiday,” says Wright.

Wright posits two reasons for the projected increase: an improving economy and lower gas prices.

“They’re considerably lower than they were this time last year. You’re saving about $1.07 per gallon.”

The average price for a gallon of gas in North Carolina is $2.55. Asheville has the state’s highest average gas price at $2.61. Wilmington is not far behind, with an average price of $2.59.

Wright says you can always expect to pay more at popular destinations.

“They’re always going to typically have the higher prices at the pump, and that’s just because they can. More folks are going to be willing to pay as they’re on vacation.”

Air travel is on the rise as well, with 82,800 North Carolinians expected to fly this weekend. The top destinations are Orlando, Baltimore and Seattle.

Wright reminds motorists, if you are driving, put away your cell phone and keep distractions to a minimum.


Expect A Tenth Of An Inch Of Ice Tuesday Night

With the threat of freezing rain in the forecast, Orange County is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 7:00 Tuesday evening through noon on Wednesday.

“Temps are going to drop through the evening, down around freezing by 9:00 or so,” says National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Ellis. “Initially that won’t cause a problem, but as precipitation starts…you’ll start to see the first impacts around midnight or so, (with) glazing on overpasses and bridges first…

“As precipitation increases after midnight, expect to start seeing travel impacts on the roadways (through) the morning commute.”

Ellis says it’s not yet clear how much precipitation is going to fall, but forecasters expect about a tenth of an inch of ice. Ellis describes the expected impact as “low to moderate” – road conditions will be treacherous, especially during the morning commute, but there shouldn’t be many power outages or downed trees.

“The worst case scenario would probably be two-tenths of an inch (of ice),” Ellis says. “The best case scenario is that the precipitation doesn’t make it as far north – and if we don’t get a lot, we could see very limited impacts with maybe just patchy ice on bridges and overpasses.”

Still, even a small amount of ice is enough to cause havoc on the roadways. “Last week in Sampson County…they had a very brief period of very light drizzle and rain, and they had 17 cars off the road within a couple hours,” Ellis says. “It doesn’t take much with the ice.”

So when will the ice go away? Ellis says it shouldn’t be long: the precipitation should end around 10:00 Wednesday morning, and temperatures will rise above freezing around then as well.

“Once the temperatures warm back up…you get cars traveling over the road (and) things heat up a little better,” Ellis says. “So we don’t anticipate impacts beyond Wednesday morning.”

Continue to check Chapelboro.com for updates on the weather, as well as any school and business closings, cancellations or delays.