Motorists heading east on I-26 toward Columbia and west toward Newberry may want to avoid interstate travel in these areas altogether, officials said a short time ago.
Traffic was backed up along both lanes of the interstate as police and emergency responders continue to deal with the wreckage from two accidents, including a multiple car pileup and a motorcycle accident near the Chapin exit, or exit 91, according to the Newberry Sheriff's Office.
As of 1:30 p.m., traffic was backed from mile marker 91 to mile marker 76, said Newberry Sheriff James Foster.
A medical evacuation helicopter landing on the interstate also contributed to traffic delays, police said. The helicopter took the motorcyclist, John Helms, 49, of Simpsonville, to Palmetto Richland, where he was listed in serious condition.
Motorists are advised to take U.S. 176 through the towns of Pomaria and Peak or use U.S. 76 through the towns of Little Mountain, Chapin and Ballentine. Motorists in these towns should also expect heavier traffic due to detours.