On Tuesday September 11, three days before Hurricane Florence was predicted to hit the southeast coastline, residents began stocking up on supplies, preparing their homes, and heading inland. While the storm was re-categorized in severity several times, local ordinances continued to warn residents of the impending damage and urged them to get out while they could. This proved wise. The intense winds and historic levels of rainfall brought by Florence leveled homes and has left entire neighborhoods and swaths of major roadways like Interstate 40 completely submerged in flood water.
To expedite the evacuation, eastbound lanes on Interstate 26 and southbound Interstate 77 were reversed, doubling the amount of cars able to travel towards safety at one time. The vigilance of our Traffic Operators in tracking weather reports, press conferences, and updates from southern departments of transportation, helped us relay this closure information to residents in timely fashion. These major shutdowns, along with literally hundreds of other smaller road closures, remain high priority for operators across all of our offices at all times of day and night. As could be expected, the roads leading back to the coast aren’t likely to all open up at once so we remain diligent in following and reporting the re-opening of all routes.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is encouraging drivers to use real time travel-based apps over traditional GPS, since they are more likely to have the most recent routing updates. The TrafficCarma app will indeed have all the latest travel data along with user comments on traffic, accidents, and closures. We’re committed to providing the most up to date travel information for residents eager to return home. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Florence and we wish you safe travels.
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