Hurricane Dorian: State troopers ready to keep traffic moving if evacuations ordered

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could order evacuations in several parts of the state this weekend.
Caption
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could order evacuations in several parts of the state this weekend.

Credit: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Credit: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis orders an evacuation before Hurricane Dorian makes landfall, motorists driving on the state's two major north-south interstate highway may be allowed to access the inside shoulder, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

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Friday night, Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Robert Chandler spoke at the Martin County Emergency Operation Center and said the governor must authorize emergency shoulder use, or ESU, TCPalm reported.

Two years ago, Interstate 95 and Interstate 75's lanes were snarled as motorists attempted to evacuate Florida as Hurricane Irma approached. DeSantis said he wanted to avoid that gridlock should an evacuation be necessary because of Hurricane Dorian.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the state first used the ESU strategy during Hurricane Irma, when evacuees were able to drive on the inside shoulder of I-75 northbound from Wildwood to the Georgia state line, and on Interstate 4 northbound from Tampa to Kissimmee, the Fort Myers News-Press reported. The Florida Highway Patrol will coordinate with local and other state agencies, the newspaper reported.

If the ESU is initiated, Chandler said state troopers will be stationed every 10 miles to help motorists in need, TC Palm reported. Extra emergency vehicles also will be deployed, Chandler said.

“That’s only if the governor orders that to happen,,but we are ready to go," Chander told the website.

“If you are in an evacuation zone and there’s a mandatory evacuation order issued, please heed that call,” DeSantis said at a news conference.