SAVANNAH, Ga. — A major Georgia interstate has switched to a one-way evacuation route as hundreds of thousands are leaving the Georgia coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
All lanes were turned westbound from Savannah to U.S. 441 in Dublin starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. NewsChopper 2 was over the scene as the lanes switched.
Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach did not see major backups or usage as of 12 p.m. Tuesday.
It starts at Interstate 95 in Savannah all the way up more than 100 miles to near Macon.
“I-16 really helps us with that coastal evacuation, from Georgia and I-95 that funnels in there at Savannah. This gives the maximum capacity of the roadway, so those people can get north and west in a safe manner and efficient manner,” GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
The timing of traffic returning to normal depends on the timing of the storm and any damage left behind.
Assessment teams and crews will be on standby and ready to move in to get roads back open as soon as possible.
[LIVE UPDATES: Tropical storm warnings issued for Georgia coast ahead of Dorian]
Gov. Brian Kemp ordered a mandatory evacuation of six coastal counties (Glynn, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Bryan, and Camden) that began at noon Monday.
Kemp also signed executive order to move Georgia National Guardsmen to help with Hurricane Dorian preparations.
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Gehlbach went inside the Georgia Department of Transportation's Traffic Management Center for a look at how officials prepared the interstate.
GDOT commissioners told Gehlbach it is the same process they used for Hurricane Matthew three years ago.