Although reversing lanes seems like a good idea, doing so could create traffic problems and delay evacuations in North Carolina.
For example, drivers in Wilmington’s road network can’t easily get onto reversed lanes on I-40. Reversing lanes could potentially increase evacuation time.
In other cases, such as on U.S. 70 and similar highways, reversing lanes would involve deactivating traffic signals at intersections so that traffic could move freely. That would require more signage, personnel, etc. to make the route safe. It would also cause access issues for residents and emergency services, because they would not be able to efficiently cross from one side of the road to the other.
Keep in mind that every state’s transportation network is different, and what might seem to work well in one state doesn’t necessarily mean it would in another.
North Carolina is fortunate to have multiple roadways to handle evacuation traffic, and residents have several options to help them leave the coast efficiently and safely. In comparison, Charleston, S.C., for example, has one major interstate that runs deep into the city.
It is critical for people to evacuate early. Hurricanes generally provide enough advance notice, and people should heed warnings from local and state officials and not wait to leave.
NCDOT monitors evacuation traffic closely, and incident management assistance trucks patrol evacuation routes. They assist stranded motorists, and remove abandoned cars and debris from the roadways to ensure that the roadways remain clear so people can evacuate quickly and safely.