Portable toilet set up after overturned tractor-trailer shuts down stretch of I-85 for hours

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation said a stretch of Interstate 85 northbound in Rowan County was closed for more than eight hours Sunday, forcing crews to set up a portable toilet for frustrated drivers.

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The traffic nightmare pointed to major issues in construction zones on local interstates. The Jersey barriers leave no room for error and can make bad traffic situations worse.

Troopers said a Harris Teeter semitrailer loaded with groceries overturned around 3 a.m. after swerving to avoid a disabled vehicle near exit 68.

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We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification around 9 a.m. Sunday that was the road was closed. Download the WSOCTV news app for your smartphone and get updates on this developing story as they come in.

Officials said the road was closed for so long because crews had to unload the truck before moving it out of the roadway.

Channel 9 watched as crews brought in a portable toilet for drivers to use during their wait.

“You can always tell when there’s a wreck out there on (I-85) because traffic backs up, and we just sit and watch them sit in front of the house," said Alan Hipp, who lives near the interstate.

Troopers said the driver of the disabled vehicle was taken to a hospital, but they have not released any information about injuries.

The Jersey barriers and no shoulders prevented any traffic to move through.

“If there is maybe a shoulder, they could’ve quickly gotten around that,” driver Brady Hale said.

Trooper Ned Moultrie that there are emergency pull-offs on I-85 and that the barriers save construction workers' lives.

"If that was your loved one working the work zone -- put yourself in that situation," Moultrie said.

NCDOT said it will continue to respond to crashes as quickly as officials can.

There are no plans to change how barriers are set up in area construction zones.

The highway reopened just after 11:30 a.m.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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