The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will participate in a statewide hurricane evacuation lane reversal drill on Thursday, June 9.
No lanes will be closed during the drill, which will be from approximately 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Motorists are advised to use caution as SCDOT crews will be stationed along roadsides.
SCDOT crews will be rehearsing the placement of traffic control devices along portions of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston; US 21 and US 278 in Beaufort County; and US 501 in Horry County.
During this exercise, SCDOT Maintenance crews travel to pre-designated locations along these routes to deploy barrels and cones. Employees deploy the barrels on roadsides and shoulders for the drill so as not to interrupt traffic, but during an actual hurricane lane reversal these barrels and cones would be used to safely manage evacuation traffic. During an actual evacuation, barrels would be deployed on the travel lanes, intersections and exits. Other SCDOT staff members are involved in monitoring the flow of traffic from the Traffic Management Centers and deploying traffic control devices such as message boards along the routes that would be reversed.
"With the ever-increasing popularity of South Carolina's beautiful coastal region, the number of residents and visitors continues to grow," Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall said. "This makes it critical that we rehearse implementing lane reversals should they be needed during hurricane evacuations. Please watch for our employees and our partners as we conduct this drill."
SCDOT in 2020 announced an updated plan for reversing lanes on I-26, which includes beginning the reversal at a median crossover near the Nexton Parkway, exit 197, instead of at I-526 as in past years. While this shortens the length of the reversal by 15 miles, it is designed to reduce traffic impacts for the Charleston area and be simpler for motorists to access the reversed side of I-26.
Motorists are encouraged to identify their evacuation routes well ahead of an actual evacuation, and can do so by accessing SCDOT's 511 traveler information site, www.511sc.org and clicking on "Evacuation Resources."