ATLANTA, GA – Acting on a recommendation from the state’s Emergency Operations Command and ahead of heavy rains, strong wind and potential flooding from Hurricane Irma, Gov. Nathan Deal today expanded the emergency declaration to include all 159 counties in Georgia. The Governor has also ordered state government closed on Monday and Tuesday for all employees except personnel who will be working the storm.
“With heavy rainfall, flash flooding and high winds, we expect downed trees and power lines that will directly impact travel on our roadways throughout the entire state. It is important for residents to continue to stay in a safe location and not be on the roadway during the storm,” said Georgia DOT’s State Traffic Operations Engineer Andrew Heath.
Once it is safe to re-enter areas impacted by Irma, nearly 800 Georgia DOT employees are on standby to begin clearing debris from the roadway, inspect bridges for safe reopening, restore downed or broken traffic signals and ensure the safety of the travelling public.
“The safety of all Georgia residents and Georgia DOT employees is paramount. We cannot allow our employees to enter and work in unsafe areas,” added Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. “We ask for the public’s patience in allowing our crews the time to safely clear roadways and inspect bridges.”
Priority will be given to clearing the interstates and heavily traveled state routes and arterials so that emergency personnel and power crews can take care of resident’s basic needs. In addition, more than 40 bridge inspectors will be inspecting bridges once the water goes down and they are able to inspect hundreds of bridges throughout the state.
Georgia’s cable-stayed bridges, the Sidney Lanier Bridge near Brunswick and the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah were closed earlier today, due to high winds forecast to reach 40 to 50 MPH.
Georgia DOT cautions residents to:
- Secure patio furniture or other loose objects that could be dangerous during high winds.
- Watch out for downed limbs, trees & power lines on the roadways.
- Treat a non-working traffic signal as a four-way stop.
- If you must travel, wait until daylight and use extreme caution on roadways.
- Steady rain can cause flash flooding quickly.
- Be aware there is a difference between flash flood and storm surge.
- Street flooding can occur quickly… do not drive onto roadways completely covered with moving water.
- If a barricade is in place, it is there for your safety. DO NOT drive around it.
For additional information and resources:
- For current roadway conditions, or to report roadway conditions: 511ga.org or dial 511
- For roadway information and evacuation routes, visit Georgia DOT at dot.ga.gov
- For emergency information and updates: GEMA/HS at gema.ga.gov
- For information on emergency shelters, visit American Red Cross at www.redcross.org
- For news alerts and information from throughout the state, visit www.GPBnews.org
- For a HERO or CHAMP Operator: Dial 511 and request assistance
The Georgia Department of Transportation is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to both its citizens and its environment. Particularly in times of crisis, Georgia DOT stands at the ready to serve the public.