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I-26 east to close from Columbia to Charleston early Tuesday to set up for lane reversal

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Hurricane Matthew

Interstate 26 eastbound was reversed  to aid in faster evacuation due to the threat of Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 5, 2016. The interstate will be reversed again for Hurricane Florence beginning Tuesday, Sept. 11. File/Michael Pronzato/Staff

The Tuesday morning commute on eastbound Interstate 26 into Charleston will be "nonexistent" because crews plan to close the highway at 5 a.m. to set up for lane reversals ahead of Hurricane Florence, officials said.

(To read the latest news on I-26 please go here).

The eastbound lanes of I-26 will be closed from Interstate 77 near Columbia to Interstate 526 in Charleston, the S.C. Department of Transportation said.

The reversal is meant to ease the flow of traffic as residents leave the state's coastline following an evacuation order by Gov. Henry McMaster.  

Law enforcement officers and DOT workers plan to get "boots on the ground" around 5 a.m., at which point all eastbound ramps will be shut down, Highway Patrol Capt. Travis Manley said. At that time, commuters will need to take alternate routes. 

While I-26 east will be closed in the early morning, the actual lane reversal will go into effect at noon once authorities have determined that all traffic has been cleared. 

Commuters are told to use the normal lanes of I-26 west unless they are evacuating. The first exit for those traveling along the reversed lanes will be in Ridgeville, and the next one after that will be in Orangeburg.

Drivers who take I-526 will only have access to westbound I-26. The eastbound lanes of I-26 will not be accessible. 

Troopers will monitor the tri-county area on Tuesday but will not disrupt traffic on local roads unless there is a high volume of evacuation traffic, Manley said. 

Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23

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