State officals start prepping the roads for hurricane evacuations

Irma traffic plan, Interstate 16

As people living along the coast plan for possible evacuations, crews are preparing for traffic changes if they need to ease up the flow on interstate 16. 

Nicole Butler spoke with Laurens County EMA Director, Don Bryant about their plans if Irma heads our way. 

Normally I-16 carries traffic in both directions between Macon and Savannah, but in the event of a mandatory evacuation, Laurens County EMA Director Don Bryant says the drop gate barricades will be lowered. 

"And the primary purpose of that is to keep traffic off of the interstate that would be going in the wrong direction," Bryant says.

The barricades will cause all eastbound lanes to be reversed turning them into "contra-flow" lanes. 

Only allowing westbound traffic from savannah to U.S. 441 in Dublin.


"It also has certain exits where traffic can get off to get fuel and food and things of this nature so it's more of a control mechanism to make sure we do that contra-flow as safely as possible," Bryant says.

Bryant says traffic will be very heavy so he gave us some tips for anyone planning to evacuate.

       1. Fill up your gas tank

       2. Carry cash on you

       3. Don't forget your medications

       4. Bring water and non-perishable foods

But Bryant says there's one piece of advice that stands above the rest.

"First of all have a plan, don't wait until you get on the road to think about where you are going have a plan before you ever get that call that you have to evacuate. I can't say enough about how people need to leave early, be patient there's going to be traffic," he says.

As of now an order hasn't been given to turn I-16 into a one way, but Bryant says they are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. 

Bryant says right now they are figuring out how to handle all of the potential traffic and planning on potentially opening up to three shelters in Laurens County. 

He is asking local traffic to plan ahead and try to stay away from the exits where evacuees will be getting off to get gas and refreshments to make it easier for those trying to escape from the storm. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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