Pavement has turned into ponds in many areas of Eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
The excess water has stranded some and separated others.
Residents have gone to each other on social media platforms asking for help with which roads are closed and which ones are open.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has an online map that makes finding routes to loved ones and new places easy.
NCDOT has information updated constantly online on the Travel Information, or TIMS site, according to Jennifer Portanova with NCDOT customer service. A state systems engineer, Portanova said she’s helping out on the phones because of the high volume of callers.
The information she has is the same that all North Carolina residents have access to online, but she encouraged calls if questions arise while attempting to find a route.
The website, www.NC511.com, requires the “www.” for the correct page to show. Once there, users will see updated detour information for some of the major roadways traveled, including I-40 and I-95, along with the time the detours were last updated.
“If you’re using a major route and you want to know if it’s open or not, that would be the first place to look,” Portanova said.
Below the detour information is a map of North Carolina where users can choose from several drop down menus to find a clear route.
Once there, begin by clicking on the local region (for us, it’s Southern Coastal) and yellow warning signs will light up the map in clusters where flooding has been the heaviest.
The map is meant to work in real time, Portanova said, and as soon as a road is cleared the map will reflect it.
“When something opens up, it won’t be on the incident list anymore,” she said.
Drivers can navigate the map by zooming in on the route they plan to take and clicking on any warning signs. The signs will give more information, specifying whether the alert is for overnight construction, a closed-off shoulder or if the road is blocked both ways due to flooding, washed out areas or downed power lines, meaning the driver will need to find a different route.
If the driver knows the road they plan to take they can also find it on the dropdown menu beside “Route,” and all of the alerts will come up on the page, including what road the alert is on and the location of it. Clicking on the description will provide further information about why the alert was added.
For those who don’t know the route or who want to find alternative routes, Portanova suggested typing the destination on Google Maps to see the different routes available, then checking the roads Google says you’ll take to get to point B.
To check larger specific areas use the drop down menu next to “County” and all alerts will come up.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Onslow County still had weather event alerts for N.C. 111 near Richlands and for Hines Farm Road near Jacksonville where the roads are flooded and closed, as well as Gibson Bridge Road heading north where the road is impassable.
Keep in mind with the rivers cresting later this week new areas may become impassable. Portanova suggested checking online before getting behind the wheel and double checking that your planned route will work.
For further help finding clear paths to specific destinations, call NCDOT at 1-877-368-4968. Someone is available to talk 24/7, Portanova said.
“Everyone who has called has been very pleasant and thankful that someone has answered,” she added.