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How Dorian evacuation SC highway lane reversals will work

More than 100 miles of a major South Carolina highway will take traffic in one direction starting Monday to help people evacuate as Hurricane Dorian threatens the coast. 

All lanes of Interstate 26 will head westbound from Charleston to Columbia by noon Monday. Traffic is expected to be very heavy with the tourists leaving at the end of the Labor Day weekend joining the thousands of evacuees.

Work starts at 5 a.m. Monday in Columbia at Interstate 77 when S.C. Highway Patrol cruisers will begin blocking access to eastbound I-26, state Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith said. Cars traveling east on I-26 in Columbia will be diverted to I-77 and U.S. 321. 

Troopers will continue travelling east on I-26 closing off on-ramps until reaching Interstate 526 in North Charleston, Smith said.

By noon, vehicles leaving Charleston will be able to drive west using all lanes of I-26.

Hurricane Wire is a pop-up newsletter during hurricane season that delivers anyone who lives on the East Coast all the information they need to know as storms brew in the Atlantic and beyond.

Law enforcement will be present to direct traffic.

There also will be access to the reversed lanes of I-26 at College Park, Ashley Phosphate and U.S. 76 intersections.

There will be eight exits on the reversed side of the interstate open for drivers who need to stop for gas. Those who exit the reversed lanes for fuel will re-enter the interstate on the usual west bound side until reaching Columbia.

The lane reversal will remain in place until the storm arrives, which could be as early as Wednesday night.

Similar procedures will be followed on U.S. 278 leaving Hilton Head Island.

Lane reversals out of the Myrtle Beach area have not been ordered.

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Jessica Holdman is a business reporter for The Post & Courier covering Columbia. Prior to moving to South Carolina, she reported on business in North Dakota for The Bismarck Tribune and has previously written for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.

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