|ATLANTA – As Hurricane Dorian inches its way closer to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, the Georgia Governor’s office and state and local agencies including the Georgia Department of Transportation have taken multiple proactive and preemptive measures.
Earlier today, Governor Brian P. Kemp conducted two press conferences discussing the state’s preparation and coastal evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival. In the southern and coastal areas of the state, the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) continues its preparations as well. Traffic along the I-16 corridor is steadily increasing as of last count. With close scrutiny on the section of the I-16 corridor located in Bryan County, traffic counts have almost tripled since yesterday for vehicles per hour in the westbound direction. The current speed has dropped to 38 mph due the substantially increased volume of vehicles.
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 morning at 8:00am. 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 116 @ SR 73 / SR 301 (Exit to Statesboro and Claxton at Metter, 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 mile 43 prior to Exit 42 (SR 338) in Laurens County will direct traffic back to regular westbound lanes prior to arrival in Macon. All westbound exits will remain open after Dublin.
In advance of the contraflow efforts beginning tomorrow, The Department and its contractors in the western portion of the state have decided on a plan to remove barriers and lane closures currently in place for the long-term Interstate 75/Interstate 16 Improvements Project ONLY along Interstate 16 from Spring Street to its junction with Interstate 75 in Macon-Bibb County, in advance of tomorrow’s scheduled Hurricane Dorian Evacuation.
State officials predict that a million residents of Southeastern Georgia and Eastern Florida have been ordered to evacuate due to the devastating storm’s probable approach, and Macon-Bibb County is a hub for many of those residents, due to the junction of Interstates 16 and 75.
Contractors are preparing crews, vehicles and equipment for the I-16 barrier removal. They began pulling out all the orange and white barrels and concrete barriers along the interstate. These efforts will likely continue into the overnight hours. Motorists who approach the work zone may encounter a temporary lane closure, and are urged to slow their speeds and drive alert to the situation.
To repeat information and advice shared earlier: The contraflow operation of Interstate 16 through Georgia and roughly to Dublin, Georgia will start at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 3, 2019. While I-16 in most of Macon-Bibb County will not be contraflowed, traffic is expected to increase greatly through the day there and on I-75 throughout the West Central region. Local residents are urged to avoid all interstates during this time and encourage use of county roads and state routes as alternatives.
Motorists are urged to avoid that stretch of Interstate 16 today, so that the crews can perform the removal quickly and safely. Any motorists who approach the work zone may encounter a temporary lane closure, and are urged to slow their speeds and drive alert to the situation.
To repeat information and advice shared earlier: the contraflow operation of Interstate 16 through Georgia and roughly to Dublin, Georgia will start at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 3, 2019. While I-16 in most of Macon-Bibb County will not be contraflowed, traffic is expected to increase greatly through the day on it and I-75 throughout the West Central region. Local residents are urged to avoid all interstates during this time and encourage use of county roads and state routes as alternatives.
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.
The Georgia Department of Transportation announced the closure of the Sidney Lanier Bridge on US 17/SR 25 in Glynn County and the closing of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge on US 17 in Savannah-Chatham County at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in anticipation of tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Dorian.
The predicted strength of the wind at the bridges elevations will render vehicles susceptible to incidents. Motorists attempting to navigate vehicles across either of these bridges in conditions with the high wind levels anticipated from Hurricane Dorian may not be able to properly control their vehicles. The bridges are being closed for the safety of the traveling public.
Before heading out, get real-time information on work status and traffic conditions. Call 511, visit 511ga.org, or download the Georgia 511 app. For the latest up-to-date information, visit The Network – Georgia Department of Transportation’s news hub.
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 request HERO assistance and in the remainder of the state you can request CHAMP assistance by calling 511. More information is available at www.511ga.org.