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Florida Officials: Contraflow Is A No Go For Hurricane Evacuations

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

With interstates jammed with people fleeing the state during Hurricane Irma, many Floridians are questioning the state’s evacuation plan for this year’s hurricane season.

One option that the Florida Department of Transportation will not use is reversing southbound lanes in case of emergency evacuations.

Governor Rick Scott told WLRN the process known as contraflow or “reverse-laning” will not be implemented for a number of reasons.

“The issue with it is, when you have the vehicles coming back down, like all the utility vehicles, it slows that down,” said Scott. “And so, the best thing to do is everybody evacuate at the right time. And on top of that, use more shouldering.”

Emergency Shoulder Use is the department’s strategy to open additional travel lanes going north.

According to the FDOT, the activation is based on an order from the Governor and will be based on an individual storm threat instead of a specific storm category.

Below are the Florida interstates that will utilize emergency shouldering if counties are told to evacuate: 

  • Interstate 4

Eastbound from Tampa (Hillsborough County) to Kissimmee (Osceola County)

  • Interstate 10
  • Westbound from Jacksonville (Duval County) to Tallahassee (Leon County)

  • Interstate 75
  • Northbound from Naples (Collier County) to the Georgia State Line (Hamilton County)

  • Interstate 75 Alligator Alley
  • Northbound from Weston (Broward County) to Naples (Collier County)

    Southbound from Naples (Collier County) to Weston (Broward County)

  • Interstate 95
  • Northbound from Fort Pierce (Saint Lucie County) to Jacksonville (Duval County)

  • Turnpike
  • Northbound from Winter Garden (Orange County) to Wildwood (Sumter County)

    Copyright 2018 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

    Dericka James is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for summer 2018.