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Steep shoulders blamed for Hwy. 158 rollovers

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WALKERTOWN, N.C. -- There have been two rollover accidents in two weeks on Highway 158 near Old Belews Creek Road in Walkertown, and emergency officials said the newly paved road that lacks a shoulder may be to blame.

The most recent accident happened Sunday morning. Troopers said the tires went off the edge of the road.

As the shoulder isn't built up yet, the difference between the shoulder and the road surface is eight inches. Highway Patrol blamed the steep drop for causing the tractor trailer to turn on its side.

"It was pretty scary. My kid came out and we heard the big boom and saw everybody run into the street trying to witness what happened," said Mark Samuels, whose backyard backs up to Highway 158.

"My concerns are my kids play out back.  It's one of those things where a fence can only do so much," Samuels said.

The driver of the tractor trailer was OK, but scaffolding spilled onto the road, making cleanup take hours.

Lt. Chase Swaim with City View Fire Department said there was another rollover accident about a week prior, and the same thing happened.

"With such a large dropoff, we're having people run off the road and overcorrect, and the vehicle just rolls over once it drops off the shoulder," Swaim said.

Highway 158 is already notorious for rear-end collisions because there are a lot of hills that can make it tough to see traffic, Swaim said.

Until contractors finish construction, there are no white lines painted on the side of the road. However, there are plenty of road work signs and unmarked paving signs to warn drivers.

"If you do run off the road, slow down, don't jam the brakes and ease back onto the freeway.  We just hope they can get this road fixed soon," Swaim said.

NCDOT officials said the project is contracted to Larco Construction. NCDOT officials said they would be sending Larco to the construction site first thing Tuesday morning.

Attempts to reach Larco officials for comment weren't returned by Monday night.

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