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Hurricane Dorian... I-16 to Contraflow beginning 8:00 am Tuesday

ATLANTA – With mandatory evacuation of areas of coastal Georgia beginning today in advance of Hurricane Dorian, Georgia DOT encourages evacuees to plan their evacuation routes and reminds citizens that there are numerous routes throughout the state that provide alternatives to the already-congested interstates. Georgia DOT urges motorists to consider all possible evacuation routes in addition to interstate highways.

On Saturday, Gov. Brian P. Kemp issued a state of emergency for 12 southeast Georgia counties in anticipation of the storm. Those counties are Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce and Wayne.

On Sunday, the Governor has also issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95 that could be impacted by potential storm surge from Hurricane Dorian. Residents living in those counties are expected to begin mandatory evacuations beginning today at noon. Counties in the mandatory evacuation area east of I-95 include Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh.

To facilitate travel from mandatory evacuation zones and areas of expected impact from the storm, Georgia DOT - working in coordination with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and Georgia State Patrol - will contraflow Interstate 16 from Savannah through US 441 in Dublin to allow evacuation traffic the opportunity to use all 4 lanes of I-16 in the westbound direction. Contraflow will begin on I-16 at 8:00am Tuesday, September 3, and will remain in place until further notice. Georgia DOT Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs) and Georgia State Patrol have formed 13 strike teams that will assist with traffic situations that may occur.

“We urge the public to heed all warnings and evacuation orders; as we saw with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, a hurricane doesn’t have to make landfall in an area to produce significant impacts,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry. “This is about safety, not speed. We ask that everyone plan ahead, pre-select your evacuation route using 511, carry needed supplies and exercise patience and discretion. We’re all in this together.”

Beginning today, 12 Coordinated Highway Assistance and Maintenance Program (CHAMP) operators will be deployed to I-95 and I-75 between Florida and Macon to provide motorists assistance and traffic control for the increased volume of evacuation traffic from Florida and the Georgia coast. On Tuesday, 21 Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs) will begin assisting with contraflow and traffic management on I-16.

While citizens are urged to consider all possible evacuation routes, motorists are reminded that Georgia DOT will contraflow I-16 from Savannah to Dublin beginning Tuesday. A median crossover on I-16 east of I-95 will cross traffic over onto I-16 eastbound lanes to travel westbound. All eastbound access at interchanges will be blocked from Dublin to Savannah on I-16 during the contraflow process. Travelers may exit contraflow lanes at the following locations:

Exit 143 @ SR 30 / US 280 (Exit to Pembroke at Ellabell, Georgia)
Exit 104 @ SR 23 / SR 121 (Exit to Metter and Reidsville at Metter, Georgia)
Exit 90 @ SR 4 / US 1 (Swainsboro, Georgia)
Exit 71 @ SR 15 / SR 78 (Exit to Soperton and Adrian at Soperton, Georgia)
Exit 67 @ SR 29 (Soperton, Georgia)
Exit 51 @ SR 31 / US 319 / US 441 (Dublin, Georgia)

A cross-over on I-16 at SR 26 (MP 38) in Laurens County will direct traffic back to regular westbound lanes prior to arrival in Macon. All westbound exits will remain open after Dublin.

Motorists are also reminded that shoulders on interstates are reserved for – and are being actively used by - emergency vehicles only. They are not to be used for passenger vehicles.

For additional information and resources:

•For current roadway conditions, or to report roadway conditions: 511ga.org or dial 511
•For roadway information and evacuation routes, visit Georgia DOT at dot.ga.gov
•For emergency information and updates: GEMA/HS at gema.ga.gov
•For information on emergency shelters, visit American Red Cross at www.redcross.org
•For news alerts and information from throughout the state, visit www.GPBnews.org
•For a HERO or CHAMP Operator: Dial 511 and request assistance

To learn how motorists access and use the I-16 contraflow lanes, click here

Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, including traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays. Callers can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In metro Atlanta, you can also request HERO assistance by calling 511. More information is available at www.511ga.org.

Submitted 9.3.19