Georgia DOT: Stay off the road during Hurricane Michael

Update: The Georgia Department of Transportation is warning motorists not to travel during Hurricane Michael as the storm makes landfall and moves into the Peach State today.

“We urge motorists to pay attention to warnings and advisories to stay off the roads due to the potential for tornadoes, extreme high winds, flash flooding and downed trees,” said Bryan Haines, GDOT’s director of emergency operations.

This afternoon GDOT also announced it will close two coastal bridges Wednesday night in anticipation of anticipation of gale-force winds.

The Sidney Lanier Bridge on U.S. 17/Ga. 25 in Glynn County will close at 6 p.m. The Talmadge Bridge in Chatham County will close at 9 p.m.

GDOT also is deploying 175 workers to east central Georgia and another 175 to west central Georgia to clear roads and perform other tasks in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

Original post: Hundreds of transportation workers will help clear roads in southern Georgia in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

The Category 4 storm is set to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle today. In preparation, on Wednesday morning the Georgia Department of Transportation deployed 400 workers to southwest Georgia to aid storm recovery efforts. The agency sent another 400 workers to southeastern Georgia.

The workers will clear roads of downed trees and other debris, operate traffic signals, inspect bridges and manage traffic as some coastal residents evacuate, according to GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.

The deployment comes as Hurricane Michael has strengthened into a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 mph at its center. It's expected to make landfall near Panama City Beach early this afternoon before moving into southwest and central Georgia.

GDOT has urged evacuees to consider heading west out of the storm's path, instead of north. It has also urged them to avoid congested interstate highways and look for little-used state routes as they escape the storm.