As Hurricane Florence moves closer to the east coast, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is deploying maintenance forces throughout the state to begin preparations for the storm and its impacts. MDOT SHA crews will inspect, clean and clear storm water ditches, drains and inlets to ensure adequate drainage.
Crews from MDOT SHA maintenance facilities are also evaluating all emergency response equipment such as high water signs, chain saws, chippers, loaders and grading trucks. Additionally, crews are ensuring that all generators are fully topped off and functional in case of power outages. Generators will keep maintenance shop operational, especially the fuel pumps, to keep crews in continual response mode.
Motorists are encouraged to monitor the weather conditions, and if possible, avoid driving in any hazardous conditions.
“This is a major storm system, and it will likely cause significant damage and disruption to the state highway system,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. “Maryland has received above-normal rainfall throughout summer and the ground is saturated so additional rain is likely to run-off rapidly.”
Motorists are reminded to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” A majority of flood-related deaths occur in vehicles. Two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus and six inches is capable of knocking a person off their feet. Other advice includes:
- Avoid downed or damaged power and transmission lines as these could still be live;
- Be cognizant of fallen trees or tree limbs; and
- Remain alert for wild animals, such as deer, that may flee dangerous areas and cross roadways.
In additional to high-water, the approaching storm could result in scattered power outages. MDOT SHA reminds motorists that if you encounter an intersection where traffic signals are without power, treat all directions of the intersection as a four-way stop.
SHA also advises motorists to stay aware of the forecast and, should heavy rain and high wind begin to affect the area, curtail travel as much as possible. Click here for information about flooded roads.
Drivers are encouraged to get the latest information by logging onto www.md511.org. The site provides real-time information about road closures and provides access to live traffic cameras. It is also recommended that citizens follow MDOT SHA on Facebook at Maryland State Highway Administration and Twitter @MDSHA.