CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation is implementing changes to the way hurricane lane reversals are operated in the Lowcountry.
SCDOT is moving the area where lane reversals begin to the Nexton Parkway interchange on I-26 as opposed to the merge lanes where I-526 meets I-26.
“We’ve had some ongoing conversations and coordination efforts with SCDOT and Highway Patrol, as well as local law-enforcement over the years, to improve our evacuation and traffic management plan,” said Mario Formisano, the director of Dorchester County Emergency Management.
During past lane reversals, you could not get onto most of I-26 between I-526 and Summerville. It was very frustrating for people trying to head downtown or even around town.
“Based on the timing by which the evacuation has to be given, along with the lane reversal implementation we had, I would probably refer to it as kind of a lock down of traffic and a significant increase in congestion throughout the greater Charleston metropolitan area,” said Formisano.
Starting the lane reversal 15 miles inland away from I-526 should help ease some of those concerns in the future.
“This is an example of state and local public safety, DOT, and the county meeting problems coming up with realistic solutions to improve how we’re going to manage things like emergency traffic during hurricanes.”
The new changes were agreed upon on Thursday. They will be implemented during any future emergencies that require the lanes to be reversed.
As a reminder, the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st.