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During Evacuations Some Major Florida Roads Allow Cars To Travel On Shoulder

September 8, 2017

All week northbound lanes of Interstate 75 have been heavily congested with south Florida residents and tourist moving away from Hurricane Irma.  As trips that normally take an hour went upwards of 6 to 8 hours, many drivers began to drive on the left shoulder.  While it may appear these motorist are breaking the law, they are indeed following Florida's new Evacuation Plan, just enacted this year. Rather than the opposite lanes of traffic to match the evacuation route, essentially making a one-way road, cars may drive on the shoulders and treat them as a lane of traffic during evacuations. Under the new plan, the inside or left shoulder would be open to evacuees on interstate roadways with three or more lanes in each direction, which includes Interstate 75 along Alligator Alley, I-4 from Tampa to Orlando, I-10 from Jacksonville to I-75, and I-75 from Wildwood to the Georgia state line. Highways with two lanes in each direction would open the outside or right shoulder to traffic. The reason for the shift is logistical and financial. For example, converting an 80-mile stretch of Alligator Alley into four lanes of one-way traffic would require hundreds of highway patrol cars, more than 4,000 orange cones and 24 hours to implement.  A trooper would have to be stationed at every median crossover, exit and entrance ramp to keep cars from turning around and going the wrong way. One wrong-way collision involving a confused driver would slow or stall evacuation traffic and defeat the purpose of the reverse lanes. The shoulder-use plan will not apply to other major roadways such as US441, Us301, US41 and US19.

SOURCE: Sun-Sentinel

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