ATLANTA, GA – As Hurricane Dorian continues to strengthen and take aim for Florida, Georgia officials are watching and preparing for its potential impacts. This may include heavy rain and flooding in south and central Georgia, as well as a potential influx of evacuees from Florida.
“I urge our citizens to be ready to move very quickly. We still don’t know a lot about the path this storm will take,” Gov. Brian Kemp said at a 1 p.m. news conference Thursday. “We should know more in the next 24 hours.”
Georgia Department of Transportation has prepared on a statewide level in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the National Weather Service and state and local officials, according to a press release from the GDOT.
GDOT alone has 860 employees and 1,033 pieces of equipment ready to deploy as needed, the press release said. The safety of the traveling public is a top priority as Georgia DOT readies for possible tropical storm or hurricane conditions including torrential rainfall, strong winds with potential for downed trees and power lines and possible tornadoes in the south and coastal regions of the state.
Maintaining roads and bridges is essential before, during and after the storm, the GDOT said. GDOT has Special Response Teams ready to deploy, and each region of the state has employees ready to deploy for hurricane preparation and cleanup. In addition, Bridge Inspection teams are at the ready to monitor the potential need for bridge closures in coastal Georgia.
Statewide, Georgia DOT crews are prepared to deploy as needed, the press release said:
• GDOT’s Transportation Management Center (TMC) is monitoring traffic conditions statewide. GDOT will stage more heavily concentrated CHAMP patrols on I-75 near the Georgia/Florida border as needed.
• Motorists traveling on interstates and state routes should be wary of the possibility of falling trees due to high winds. GDOT is actively engaged in the removal of trees and overgrown brush along state rights-of-way to mitigate the possibility of falling trees across roadways, a particular danger during hurricanes and tropical storms.
• Motorists should strongly consider using alternate routes besides interstate highways. Often during evacuations, interstates are heavily congested while state routes go largely unused. State routes are a viable alternative to interstates. Consult 511, state maps and wayfinding apps to determine the best, least congested route to ensure your safe evacuation.
• Due to Labor Day Weekend, GDOT previously suspended construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes across Georgia from noon Friday, Aug. 30, until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3. These suspensions will be adjusted as needed in the coming days.
Georgia DOT’s maintenance staff and bridge inspectors will be available to regularly patrol the interstates, state roadways and bridges to assist in identifying potential hazards or negative impacts to travel. If flooding occurs, crews will wait until water recedes to assess the situation. If motorists see flash flooding, trees down or other obstructions impeding travel on roadways or bridges, they are urged to contact 511 and speak with an operator to report the incident.
The public should monitor local radio and TV stations for the latest details on the path of the storm, weather conditions and possible evacuations. The public may also monitor GDOT's news service, The Network, at http://www.dot.ga.gov/AboutGDOT/TheNetwork for up-to-date information.
For real-time road conditions, call 511 or visit Georgia511. For weather information, visit the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida, or the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Georgia. Visit www.dot.ga.gov/DS/Emergency/Hurricane for more information including an Evacuation Route Map.