Highway Patrol to practice reversing lanes for hurricane evacuations

June 4, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, will conduct a lane-reversal exercise to simulate what would need to happen if a mandatory hurricane evacuation were ordered.

The exercise will take place from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., but the lanes will not actually be reversed. There will be no impact on traffic. Drivers will, however, see an increase law enforcement presence along major highways.

So, Highway Patrol is asking drivers traveling I-26, U.S. 501, and S.C. 544 as well as U.S. 278 and U.S. 21 to exercise due caution and be aware that law enforcement officers and state personnel will be located on the shoulder of the highway and at exits.

The exercise will also involve employees from the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardons, the South Carolina Forestry Commission, the Civil Air Patrol and the South Carolina National Guard.

The exercise will simulate reversal operations on U.S. 278 and U.S. 21. The deployment of equipment and personnel will be made on these roads leading out of Hilton Head and Beaufort. SCDOT equipment will be stationed on U.S. 278 from Almenda to Hampton in Hampton County.

Law enforcement personnel and traffic control devices will be deployed on Interstate-26 from the intersection of I-526 and I-26 in Charleston to I-77 and I-26 in Columbia.

Traffic control equipment and personnel will be stationed on U.S. 501 beginning at S.C. 544 and ending at U.S. 378 as well as between S.C. 22 and the Marion By-Pass.

Aerial units from SLED, the Civil Air Patrol, the South Carolina National Guard, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the South Carolina Forestry Commission will be flying assigned aerial surveillance routes. SCDOT will also deploy Incident Response Vehicles.