• 12:35 am State’s unemployement rate remains at 4.1%
  • 12:22 am Bladen County to receive hurricane recovery funds
  • 12:15 am This Day in History for July 23
  • 3:30 pm Bladen County Sheriff’s office receives recognition for participation in Operation Medicine Drop Take Back Event
  • 3:13 pm A Pinch of Butter blog started by Bladen County native

FAYETTEVILLE – Interstate 95 motorists now have a shorter detour around the flooded section of North Carolina with Friday afternoon’s opening of a flooded section of the interstate in South Carolina.

Drivers from Virginia will be directed to use U.S. 64 West (Exit 138) to I-440 West to I-40 West to U.S. 1 South to U.S. 15/501 in Aberdeen to U.S. 74 back to I-95 in North Carolina near Lumberton. The previous detour took people to Hickory west of Charlotte.

State traffic engineers learned from previous experience that detouring traffic through communities along I-95 created gridlock in those communities. Additionally, the bypass detour allows local officials to focus on recovery efforts rather than traffic management.

“It’s a lesson we learned from Matthew,” said Kevin Lacy, the department’s chief traffic engineer. “Last time, we had gridlock and more crashes because the in-town routes couldn’t handle all of that interstate traffic.”

Differentiating between local and out-of-state traffic at the closures is not possible, and establishing a security stop for such a purpose would cause delays and crashes because of the heavy traffic volume.
Barricades have been installed as part of the I-95 detours.

Transportation officials urged motorists not to drive around barricades.

Law enforcement officers from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ License and Theft Bureau and State Highway Patrol are patrolling the interstate and monitoring the detours.