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Highway reopens, officials asking drivers to avoid the area for the next few days because of lingering smoke

A city street is closed this month for repairs and upgrades in Orlando, Fla. As part of an infrastructure proposal by the Biden administration, $115 billion is earmarked to modernize bridges, highways and roads.
John Raoux
Stock image — road closed sign.

A portion of U.S. Hwy. 117 South in Duplin County is open again after it was closed by low visibility twice on Tuesday, and drivers are being asked to be careful and “avoid the area if at all possible” over the next few days because of lingering smoke.

The affected portion of the highway is between Magnolia and Rose Hill, after heavy smoke from a nearby legal, prescribed fire caused hazardous driving conditions starting early Tuesday morning that led to several crashes.

Officials said strong winds Tuesday night and Wednesday morning helped disperse the smoke, and they reopened the highway after determining that there was “no danger or threat to hinder morning travel.”

Travel conditions and visibility will be closely monitored over the next few days.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.