COLUMBIA, S.C. — Motorists traveling from Columbia to Charleston should be aware South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will be conducting a statewide hurricane evacuation lane reversal drill on Thursday, June 9.
Between 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., SCDOT crews will be stationed along portions of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston, US 21and US 278 in Beaufort County, and US 501 in Horry County to rehearse the placement of traffic control devices that would be used in the event of a coastal evacuation before a major hurricane.
No lanes of traffic will be closed but motorists should use caution as SCDOT crews will be stationed along roadsides deploying traffic cones and barrels.
During an actual evacuation route lane reversal, traffic barrels and cones -- as well as electronic message boards -- would be used to manage traffic inland from coastal areas.
“With the ever-increasing popularity of South Carolina’s beautiful coastal region, the number of residents and visitors continues to grow,” Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall said. “This makes it critical that we rehearse implementing lane reversals should they be needed during hurricane evacuations. Please watch for our employees and our partners as we conduct this drill.”
In 2020, SCDOT announced the I-26 lane reversal would begin at a median crossover near the Nexton Parkway, exit 197 near Summerville, instead of at I-526 in Charleston, shortening the length of the reversal by 15 miles and reducing traffic impacts for the Charleston area.
Motorists are encouraged to identify their evacuation routes well ahead of an actual evacuation, and can do so by accessing SCDOT’s 511 traveler information site, www.511sc.org and clicking on “Evacuation Resources.”