In the wake of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement of a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Dorian’ imminent landfall, expected sometime this coming Sunday, the Georgia DOT (GDOT) has begun preparing one of its primary evacuation routes for a potential influx of Florida evacuees.
GDOT has begun realigning barricades on I-75 near Hahira, which will open the left lane of the interstate both northbound and southbound. GDOT representative Nita Birmingham, in announcing the preparation work, also noted that the state of Georgia does not allow driving on the shoulder, a practice allowed in Florida in cases of emergency and/or evacuation. Message boards have been updated to remind drivers coming into Georgia of this changes in rules.
Among the weather events Floridians and Georgians can expect when Dorian reaches dry land are possible tropical storm or hurricane conditions including torrential rainfall, strong winds with potential for downed trees and power lines and possible tornadoes.
GDOT has also readied Special Response Teams as well as bridge inspection teams to monitor the potential need for bridge closures in coastal Georgia. Statewide, Georgia DOT crews are prepared to deploy as needed.
GDOT’s Transportation Management Center (TMC) is monitoring traffic conditions statewide. GDOT will stage more heavily concentrated CHAMP patrols on I-75 near the Georgia/Florida border as needed. GDOT is also actively engaged in the removal of trees and overgrown brush along state rights-of-way to mitigate the possibility of falling trees across roadways, a particular danger during hurricanes and tropical storms.
Due to Labor Day Weekend, GDOT previously suspended construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes across the state from noon Friday, Aug. 30 until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Florida has been engaged in a years-long quest to expand capacity on I-75, which is one of only three primary emergency evacuation routes out of the southern coastal portion of the state. The final portion of this work, in the Ft. Myers area, has been named to Roads & Bridges 2019 Top 10 Roads Awards winners—so keep an eye out for the upcoming October issue, which will be available here on Oct. 4, to learn more about it.
Image: GDOT Twitter