Road closures, congestion inevitable with Irene’s landfall

By Land Line staff | 8/26/2011

With the slow-moving Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast, several states and major metropolitan areas were shutting down highways and bridges this weekend in preparation for the storm.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a notice about possible road closures on midday Friday.

“If sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph, all of the following bridges will be closed to all traffic: George Washington Bridge, Tappan Zee bridge, all bridges operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and the following Hudson River bridges: Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson (Poughkeepsie), Kingston-Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle (Catskill) ,” the notice states.

“The New York State Thruway and possibly other major highways will also be closed if sustained wind speeds exceed 60 mph; further closings will be announced as the storm progresses

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that at 6 p.m. Friday, State Route 72 will be closed to eastbound travel. “All lanes will be used in moving traffic westward,” Christie wrote through his account.

Effective Friday morning, the state suspended tolls on the Garden State Parkway south of Raritan River and the Atlantic City Expressway.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley retweeted a Maryland state message saying “it is expected that we will be closing our bridges sometime on Saturday afternoon. Start preparing today.”

Evacuations will also prove to make traffic challenging in the time leading up to Irene’s landfall.

For example, in Virginia, while most Hampton Roads residents consider Interstate 64 their primary route for evacuation, it may not be the best route for many. The Virginia Department of Transportation, along with other state agencies and local emergency responders, have developed evacuation routes that can contribute to the smooth operation of an evacuation order.

“Motorists should use the route that is closest to their place of origin,” said Stephany Hanshaw, Regional Transportation Operations Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation Hampton Roads District.

North Carolina has mobilized its Incident Management Assistance Patrol units to monitor the evacuation on routes along Interstate 40, I-140, U.S. 17, U.S. 64, U.S. 158, and U.S. 421. The units will monitor for backups and the needs for road closures.

Knowing evacuation routes of areas anticipating Irene’s landfall can obviously help you get to safer portions of the country. But those evacuations can also complicate your travels on the East Coast. Below are links to the possible affected states to their evacuation plans.

Also, before entering the eastern states with a load or heading for a pick-up, you may want to stay in close contact with the shipper or receiver. The situation can change rapidly and alter your plans.

Evacuation route maps:
Maryland/Washington DC
Massachusetts (No map available, just instructions to call.)
New Jersey
New York City
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina 

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