ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - With mandatory evacuation orders in place for six Georgia counties, transportation officials want to make sure they do everything they can to help people get out of coastal communities quickly.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, "contraflow" is in effect on Interstate 16. That means both eastbound and westbound lanes will be open for westbound traffic only to increase capacity," explained GDOT Spokeswoman Natalie Dale.
"It's not just Georgians who live in our coastal counties," explained Dale. "We've got Floridians coming up into that area. We've got South Carolinians coming down. It's sort of the bowl that collects traffic that shoots it up into north Georgia and so in order to really prepare and assist that amount of traffic, we have to contraflow I-16, give all those lanes the chance to move westbound."
Dale said barricades and state troopers will be stationed at all interstate access points to help prevent anyone from entering the highway in the wrong direction GDOT has also moved additional CHAMP units into the area to respond to any traffic incidents.
Contraflow will begin in Savannah and end in Dublin.
In years past, Dale said they have encountered some problems with drivers trying to use the shoulders for travel when traffic gets heavy and she warns people only to drive in marked lanes.
"It is vital that those shoulders stay open and clear for emergency personnel. Whether that's state patrol, whether that's GDOT operators, they need to be able to move freely in those shoulder lanes for emergencies," said Dale.
I-16 will operate in contraflow from Tuesday morning until further notice.
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