COLUMBIA, S.C. — Drivers have been looking for detours to get to Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties since lane reversals on Interstate 26 began Monday.
On Sunday night, Governor Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation for the entire South Carolina coast. The governor announced there would be lane reversals on Interstate 26 to help people get out quickly because of the storm and anticipated Labor Day traffic.
With the lane reversals, traffic that would usually head down to Charleston using the eastbound lanes on I-26 has switched directions. Traffic on both sides of the interstate is moving inland towards the Columbia and Greenville area.
Starting 5 a.m. on Monday morning, the South Carolina Highway Patrol began to flush out traffic for the lane reversal. Around noon, drivers were lead by troopers from Charleston to travel in the eastbound lanes to Columbia.
Officials say thousands of drivers were on the road Monday, and they expect to see more drivers in the coming days.
Heavy traffic on Labor Day could be seen on the westbound lanes heading inland. Some drivers decided to cross over in the median to get to the other lanes with less traffic. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says this is illegal and dangerous, and will result in a ticket for anyone they see crossing over in the median.
Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says they will continue to have lane reversals until they think it's no longer necessary, or conditions are unsafe for troopers.
Many viewers have called News 19 trying to figure out how they can get from Columbia to Orangeburg or Calhoun County.
The best route to take from Columbia is Highway 321, also known as Charleston Highway. This is the same road that leads to the state Farmer's Market.
For drivers trying to get to the western part of Orangeburg County, stay on Highway 321 until it crosses with Highway 178. Once you turn left on the highway, it's will lead to the downtown Orangeburg area.
To travel to the eastern part of Orangeburg County or to Calhoun County, drivers will also use Highway 321. Drivers will turn left onto Highway 176. This will take drivers to Sandy Run in Calhoun County.
To reach Orangeburg, drivers can either switch onto Highway 21 towards downtown Orangeburg, or stay on Highway 176 towards St. Matthews, Cameron, and the Santee area.
News 19 will continue to update you once any changes are made to the lane reversals on Interstate 26.