Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded to a category two hurricane but is still forecast to bring dangerous tropical storm force winds, and is expected to reach the Georgia coast between 6 pm Wednesday and midnight Thursday. Georgia DOT has prepared for Hurricane Dorian on a statewide level in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the National Weather Service and state and local officials.
Governor Brian Kemp has extended the state of emergency declaration to 21 counties located in the south and coastal areas of Georgia; those counties are Appling, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Echols, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Wayne and Ware.
The storm is currently moving at approximately eight miles an hour with tropical storm force winds expected in coastal communities with three to four foot storm surges and causeway flooding. Winds are expected to drop as the storm moves inland.
For the public’s safety and in anticipation of gale-force winds GDOT has closed the Talmadge Memorial Bridge on US17 in Savannah-Chatham Count, the Sidney Lanier Bridge on US 17/SR 25 and the St. Simon’s Island causeway in Glynn County. In addition, all flights and train travel to the potentially affected areas has been halted, and the ports of Savannah and Brunswick have been closed. As the storm continues to move north, teams will monitor the need for additional closures in coastal Georgia.
Contraflow for vehicle traffic on I-16 was removed today, and I-16 has returned to normal east/west operation. However, removing the contraflow is not an invitation to return to potentially impacted areas. The public should continue to heed the governor’s emergency declaration for affected counties and is encouraged to evacuate immediately as storm conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate and evacuation may become difficult or dangerous.
Georgia DOT has 860 personnel on standby, ready to respond with 1033 pieces of equipment. Roughly a third of those personnel are on standby in coastal Georgia. Eleven bridge inspection teams are ready in areas expected to be most impacted. CHAMP crews are working ordinary shifts today to provide motorist assistance and traffic control.
Georgia DOT Special Response Teams will begin clearing impacted roadways once conditions are determined to be safe to do so. In the event of major flooding, crews will wait until waters recede to begin clean up. Priority routes will be cleared first to ensure the public maintains access to hospitals, trauma centers and other public facilities.
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