Tractor-trailer takes light pole

Published 1:37 am Tuesday, September 30, 2008

By Staff
Traffic jammed for three hours
Staff Writer
CHOCOWINITY — At about 6:15 p.m. Monday, a tractor- trailer toppled a traffic pole at the intersection of U.S. Highway 17 and N.C. Highway 33.
The accident halted traffic northbound and southbound on Highway 17 and traffic eastbound and westbound on Highway 33 for about three hours.
The highways were blocked off on both sides for several blocks by workers with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and firefighters with the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department.
A concrete beam strapped from front to back on the Woolard’s Automotive tractor-trailer caused the accident when it split the pole in half as the truck was attempting to make a left turn from Highway 17 to Highway 33.
According to witnesses, the tractor-trailer took the turn at between 10 mph to 15 mph. The concrete beam took out the pole on impact, sending traffic lights hanging over Highway 33 crashing to the road. A pair of traffic lights hanging over Highway 17 were also dislodged.
Chief Tommy Pendley with the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department said he was not surprised by the incident. Pendley said tractor-trailers ship approximately four to five concrete beams from Washington to Chocowinity as part of construction on the Highway 17 bypass project. The beams are delivered to construction sites on the south side of the bridge project.
Pendley said that several weeks ago a pole adjacent to the traffic pole hit Monday was taken out by a large truck.
The fire department provided on-scene assistance, but Pendley said DOT was in charge because the damaged traffic lights fell under the state’s jurisdiction.