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New emergency rules allow for shoulder use during hurricane evacuations

The Florida Department of Transportation updated its evacuation plan, which now lets you drive on the shoulder on major roads during major hurricane evacuations.

TAMPA, Fla. — Figuring out whether or not to evacuate ahead of a hurricane is never an easy decision. People tend to wait until the last minute, making roadways clogged and congested.

This season, the Florida Department of Transportation updated its evacuation plan allowing for emergency shoulder use on certain roads during hurricane evacuations.

FDOT believes using the shoulder will increase traffic capacity during major hurricane evacuations using existing paved shoulders. The strategy was first developed in 2017 and used ahead of Hurricane Irma when officials opened the left shoulder to traffic.  

FDOT will use emergency shoulder use to replace the former one-way plans, also known as contraflow and lane reversal. 

In Tampa Bay, the following stretches of roadway will allow emergency shoulder use:

Interstate 4

  • Eastbound from US 41 in Tampa (Hillsborough County) to SR 417 in Celebration (Osceola County)

Interstate 75

  • State Road 64 (Manatee County) to Progress Boulevard near Brandon (Hillsborough County)
  • Two miles north of the Interstate 4 interchange to State Road 143 (Hamilton County)

You can view a list of all the roads allowing shoulder traffic, here

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