Local and State agencies run through hurricane lane reversal drill

Published: Jun. 10, 2015 at 7:28 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2015 at 1:41 PM EDT
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Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The amount of rain the Lowcountry has seen the past 24 hours may seem pretty bad, but for those who remember Hurricane Floyd, you know it can get even worse. Traffic was backed up on I-26 for at least 24 hours.

Wednesday State Troopers and crews with the department of transportation are making sure that doesn't happen again by practicing reversing traffic on the interstate.

It's part of the annual Hurricane Lane Reversal drill put on by the Department of Public Safety and other agencies. It gives these employees the chance to brush up on skills in case an evacuation were to happen.

"We want to make sure that everyone who comes on board knows their job," Sergeant Bob Beres, a Trooper with S.C. Highway Patrol, said. "There are a lot of resources being deployed here."

Many resources were located at the interchange of I-526 and I-26 in North Charleston. That's where the reversal goes into effect, and stretches all the way to Columbia.

"We're talking about every exit ramp, every interchange has to be manned, and has to have enough cones," Beres said. "So that's sort of a checklist we go off of."

Not only do these agencies have a checklist, but they say you should as well. First making sure your car is prepared in case of an evacuation, like keeping food and water in your trunk. Sergeant Beres said during a hurricane evacuation you could be sitting in your car for several hours.

"Probably going to take over six hours to get to Columbia," Beres said. "It's just because of the amount of traffic and the amount of people leaving the Lowcountry."

According to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, 43 new people are added to the greater Charleston area each day. As more and more people arrive, it puts pressure on agencies to make sure evacuations go smoothly.

It's part of the reason why they want Charlestonians to learn the evacuation routes for each area.

"There's not only one route in Charleston," Beres said. "Everyone thinks it's I-26, that's where I need to go. There are several routes whether you live in McClellanville, or West Ashley, know your routes for your area."

You can find your evacuation route on the back of South Carolina maps, as well as the hurricane guide that was released this season.

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