LUMBERTON — Residents who left Robeson County and other nearby counties ahead of Hurricane Matthew are being urged to stay put, as major highways and other roads are still closed because of high water and road and bridge washouts.
Gov. Pat McCrory, speaking from hard-hit Fayetteville at a 12:30 p.m. press conference, cautioned people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
“While we’re still dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Matthew here in Fayetteville and Cumberland, we’re still rescuing as we speak, right down the street. Lumberton is going through a tough, tough time. We don’t know if it’s a breach, but a lot of water is coming through a dam and we’re rescuing about 2,000 people. Water was up to their knees. People were on the roofs this morning.”
McCrory said parts of Interstate 95 are still closed. Rerouted traffic from the interstate is clogging some Lumberton roads as motorists try to snake their way between road closures, standing water, downed trees and existing detours that were in place before Matthew’s arrival.
“We flew over some of the I-95 situation and it’s still a lot of water. The dilemma we’re having, we’re having a lot of people looking for a shortcut in and around it and the shortcut goes right into the water. What we don’t want anyone else to do is to lose their life going through water. The NCDOT Traveler Information Management System at NCDOT.gov shows that the following major roads closed in Robson County, with countless others impassable because of water or downed trees:
— I-95 in Lumberton from mile marker 13 to 31
— N.C. 41 Northeast of Lumberton in both directions
— N.C. 72 In Lumberton in both directions
— Howell Road east of Lumberton headed east
— Smith Mill Road north east of Lumberton in both directions.
At about 1 p.m. today these nearby routes were also closed:
— I-95 at mile marker 44 just north of Tom Starling Road outside of Fayetteville.
— I-95 at mile 116 and 119 at N.C. 42 and 95 in Wilson County
— I-40 on the Johnston Sampson county line near mile marker 242. A detour is in place.
— N.C. 87 just north of the town of Tar Heel in Bladen County.
— U.S. 701 north of Clarkton in Bladen County.
— N.C. 242 north of Elizabethtown in Bladen County.