Update (4 p.m., Wednesday)
Division 6 has 149 employees on standby, plus equipment
RALEIGH – State transportation officials are helping with evacuations along the coast, readying emergency supplies and finalizing preparations for Hurricane Florence.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division evacuated 2,181 people and transported 1,074 vehicles from Ocracoke on the Hatteras, Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes between 1 p.m. Monday and today when the last ferry left Ocracoke. The division suspended ferry operations from Ocracoke after Wednesday morning’s trips. All ferries are being placed in safe harbor and will be secured to different docks until conditions improve.
NCDOT staff in all 100 counties have prepared equipment for possible clearing efforts, shoulder repairs and crossline replacements that can be used in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. A total of 2,166 employees in all 14 NCDOT highway divisions have been preparing for Hurricane Florence.
Division 6, which includes Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett and Robeson counties, has 149 personnel ready to respond with 76 chainsaws, 14 front-loaders, 14 backhoes, 13 motor graders, 190 barricades, 130 road closed signs and 335 high water signs.
In some areas of North Carolina, crews have staged equipment in different areas so it can be available once cleanup and recovery begins. Generators have been checked and readied, and traffic services offices are staging message boards and loading emergency trailers with barricades, signs and drums. NCDOT staff have made arrangements to have contractors on standby ready to respond to any storm-related tasks such as cutting and removing downed trees from roads.
NCDOT is also preparing active transportation projects for potential impacts. Erosion and control measures have been checked and staff are making sure earth-moving equipment and cranes are secure.
On the Outer Banks Monday, NCDOT staff flew drones from Hatteras north to Kitty Hawk at all traditional “hot spots” to obtain overhead video of pre-storm conditions. Fifteen NCDOT drones and multiple teams of pilots are being readied for post-event damage assessment.
The division is also monitoring the status of North Carolina’s public airports.
Staff at the Global TransPark, an industrial park in Kinston and a division of the NCDOT, are preparing the facility to serve as a headquarters for emergency rescue and response operations in eastern North Carolina. By Wednesday, 1,500 federal and state emergency response personnel and military crews from North Carolina and the rest of the nation will be stationed at the Global TransPark. Team members with different skill sets will respond to emergency requests for help and be deployed to help clear roads, rescue people by water, land and air and support the operation.
The emergency rescue and response facility at the Global TransPark will be fully operational by Wednesday. In addition to housing emergency response crews, the facility also will be used to store thousands of emergency supplies, including rescue boats and aircraft, meals ready to eat, and medical supplies.
The Global TransPark also served as an incident command post for emergency response operations during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Division of Motor Vehicles
Thirty-one driver license offices in eastern North Carolina and some in central areas of the state were closed by noon Wednesday in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Road tests and mobile office visits were canceled in those affected areas. About 25 license plate offices were expected to close by the end of the day Wednesday and could remain closed for the rest of the week, depending on the weather.
Closures and changes to office hours can be found on the office locations page of the official NCDMV website at MyNCDMV.gov. Many DMV services, including renewing driver licenses, ordering duplicate ID cards or renewing vehicle registration, can be done online.
RALEIGH – The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured in NCDOT Now, the department’s weekly newscast.
At maintenance yards across the state, as well as ferry terminals, N.C. Department of Transportation staff are getting ready for potential impacts from Hurricane Florence. While the department prepares for the storm, it encourage North Carolinians across the state to do the same.
From the mountains to the coast, crews are checking supplies to ensure equipment is in good working order and ready to go ahead of the storm. Additionally, they are inspecting culverts and pipes under roadways to make sure they are clear.
To aid in evacuations, NCDOT is suspending road work that would impact traffic flow.
Drivers who run out of gas or experience trouble with their vehicle during an evacuation should move it safely to the shoulder of the road to reduce unnecessary congestion. Stranded drivers are encouraged to call *HP (*47), not 911. Keep in mind, stranded vehicles will be towed to keep the roadway clear.
Motorists should also avoid driving through flooded areas and never drive around a barricade. Even if a blocked off road appears safe, there could be washouts underneath that make it dangerous for travel.
Drivers who approach a traffic signal that is out should slow completely to a stop and then treat it as a four-way stop. The first vehicle to arrive to the intersection has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the one to the right goes first.
For real-time travel information and updates on road closures in your area, at any time, visit drivenc.gov.
As crews and equipment stand ready for Hurricane Florence, Governor Roy Cooper encourages North Carolinians to be disaster-ready by putting together emergency kits and having a plan in place.
Emergency kits should include copies of important documents, water, non-perishable food, personal hygiene supplies, clothes, chargers, flashlights and a portable radio with extra batteries. Supplies should be kept in a waterproof container that can be easily transported. Remember to include supplies for all members of the family, including pets.
For more information on how to ensure your family is disaster ready, go to readync.org or download the free ReadyNC app, which features real-time weather, traffic, and shelter information.