New route could hamper hurricane evacuations

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

To the editor: The N.C. Department of Transportation is busy installing “Michigan left-hand turn lanes” at the intersections of Ocean Isle Beach Road and Mount Pisgah Road onto U.S. 17 as a traffic control to help reduce terrible accidents that have occurred there.

Ocean Isle Beach Road and Mount Pisgah Road are the major evacuation routes from Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach.

During emergency evacuations, provisions are made for the roads to be turned into two lanes one-way away from the beach to help evacuate all the people off the beach as soon as possible; however, the new turn lanes are a major blockage to the orderly evacuation because they are configured so only one lane can turn onto U.S. 17.

This means there will be a major bottleneck at these intersections in time of crisis.

These lanes also force traffic north onto U.S. 17. Since hurricanes normally go in a northerly direction, the evacuation route is parallel to the path of the hurricane.

To avoid this, people must go north for a while before turning to go inland or south to get away from the storm track. This will create more traffic control problems.

In the Myrtle Beach area along the published evacuation routes, there are no such blockages and three four-lane highways all lead directly inland away from the beaches and storm track.

Why have our elected county officials and representatives in Raleigh allowed NCDOT to construct bottlenecks on our hurricane evacuation routes?

Couldn’t a better solution be used to control the traffic at these intersections?