Georgia traffic being redirected before Hurricane Matthew

The Georgia Department of Transportation is redirecting traffic ahead of Hurricane Matthew as thousands of Georgians flee the coast.

Interstate 16 will become westbound only beginning Thursday to allow residents to evacuate. Georgia State Patrol will be enforcing the closure of eastbound lanes.

As of Thursday morning, no state routes or other interstates were being closed.

Drivers in coastal areas are asked to evacuate inland using SR 32 west to I-75 north, SR 520 west to I-75 north or SR 341 to McRae to US 441 North to I-16.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered a mandatory evacuation of six coastal counties early Thursday in response to the Category 4 storm that is expected to hit the Georgia coast sometime Friday afternoon. The counties are Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden.

In the St. Marys and Brunswick areas as well as in Atkinson, Bacon, Clinch, Pierce and Ware Counties, drivers are asked to take SR 520/US 82 West to I-75.

In Lowndes, Brooks, Colquitt, Tift and Taurner Counties take I-75 North or SR 520 west to I-75 north.

Low-lying areas west of I-95 are also being evacuated.

Highway Emergency Response Operations vehicles from the metro Atlanta area will be sent east to help drivers with emergency situations like accidents and running out of gas, said GDOT spokesperson Jill Nagel.

Drivers should avoid driving on shoulders, regardless of traffic, she said. The shoulders are reserved for emergency vehicles.

“Be patient with everyone,” she said.

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