(WCBD) — According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the South Carolina Highway Patrol began clearing the reversed eastbound lanes on I-26 Friday, October 7, just before 10:00 a.m. With this, all entry points to the reversed lanes on I-26 eastbound, including I-526, have been closed during the process.
Those evacuating to Columbia can still access I-26 westbound as evacuation from the Charleston area is highly encouraged.
The process for returning to I-26 to normal operations begins with law enforcement stopping traffic from entering the reversed lanes at I-526 in Charleston. DPS will then remove traffic control points on I-26 eastbound from Charleston to Columbia. Once those control points have been removed, and a final check has been performed, all lanes will return with traffic flowing in the designated directions.
According to SCDOT officials, the process could take an estimated three hours or more.
I-26 westbound will stay open during this operation, with the exception of irregular closures for other reasons.
All motorists evacuating the coastal area are strongly encouraged to leave before this change is made as SCDOT, DPS, SLED, DNR and National Guard personnel will return to their office quarters until Hurricane Matthew has passed.