Fla., Ga. interstates under heavy Irma evacuee traffic; USDOT drops safety regulations

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Interstates in Florida and Georgia are experiencing heavy traffic from Florida evacuees, transportation officials report.

The Miami Herald reports that the Florida Turnpike and Interstates 75 and 95 are experiencing heavy traffic from evacuees. The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that Interstate 75 is experiencing heavy traffic from Florida evacuees heading toward Atlanta.

That traffic is only expected to increase as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina departments of transportation monitor the storm and determine whether to call for evacuations. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has said he is planning to call for a mandatory evacuation Saturday morning.

At noon September 7, parts of Broward County and Miami Dade, Florida, were under mandatory evacuation. Motorists in Florida can check fl511.com for real-time traffic information. The governor has also issued an order for the Florida Highway Patrol to escort fuel resupply trucks to gas stations in the state.

State departments of transportation along the possible path of Hurricane Irma are gearing up online guides to help residents prepare for the storm and possible evacuations.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has set up a webpage specifically geared toward Irma. The page has downloadable evacuation routes, traveler information such as travel times and camera images, a downloadable interactive map of road conditions, storm reports and links to other response agencies.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has also set up a webpage to assist in Irma preparations..

USDOT emergency declaration

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a regional emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Such a declaration exempts drivers from safety regulations who are providing direct assistance to an emergency, the USDOT says. The exemption only applies to 49 CFR Parts 390-399. The exemptions, however, do not include those related to commercial driver’s licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size and weight.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a special webpage for Irma, with resources, information and links for motor vehicle carriers and drivers.

A regional emergency declaration also remains in effect for storm Harvey. The FMCSA’s webpage for Harvey is fmcsa.dot.gov/harvey.