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FDOT: Interstate lanes will not be reversed in storm evacuations

Posted at 11:19 AM, May 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-28 11:19:58-04

Last year during Hurricane Irma, we saw interstates throughout Florida come to a standstill.  And many of you wanted to know how that will change for future evacuations.

So 4 in Your Corner took those questions to the Florida Department of Transportation.

They tell us that at this point they are not reversing the southbound lanes for a number of reasons.  One being that it takes a lot of manpower and labor to close each southbound exit.

FDOT says they have more responsibilities that are a higher priority while preparing for a hurricane.

Instead, during an evacuation, the road shoulders will turn into additional travel lanes.  This way a few more lanes are open going north, which they say is just as efficient.

“It's pretty...very close to the equivalent of being able to do that and still being able to use the existing exits and ramps and still being able to use the southbound lanes to get in emergency supplies, to pre-stage those first responders, FEMA, fuel, food and water…the things that people are gonna need in the aftermath of a storm," says Zach Burch of the Florida Department of Transportation.

However, while FDOT hasn't reversed traffic flow in the past, they are looking into it. In the 2018 state budget, the legislature gave FDOT, as well as law enforcement,$750,000 to study the feasibility of having both sides of an interstate go north.

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