ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to implement both immediate and long-term improvements to help Florida residents, businesses and visitors during emergencies. Following Hurricane Irma, Governor Scott directed FDOT to begin examining ways to help expedite evacuation routes from the I-75/ Florida Turnpike Interchange near Wildwood to the Florida-Georgia border, as well as ways to increase fuel capacity during state storm emergencies. The improvements FDOT is adopting are based on the findings of these reports.
Governor Scott said, “As Florida continues to recover from Hurricane Irma, the largest storm to impact our state in modern history, it is critically important that we continue to do all we can to make sure our state is fully prepared in the face of any potential disaster. Last fall, I directed FDOT to examine ways to improve evacuations and fuel capacity and following the completion of these reports, I have directed the agency to implement short and long-term improvements that will help protect our families and visitors. These improvements will ensure that Florida continues to be a national leader in emergency management and solely focused on keeping families safe.”
Short-term evacuation-related improvements to be implemented no later than June at the direction of Governor Scott include:
- Expanding Emergency Shoulder Use (ESU) along key interstate routes;
- Beginning installation of cameras and dynamic message signs on I-75 from Ocala to the Georgia state line; and
- Increasing the department’s Florida 511 website system to accommodate increased usage.
Long-term evacuation-related improvements to be implemented at the direction of Governor Scott include:
- Completing the I-75/Turnpike interchange construction in 2019;
- Beginning construction to widen Florida’s Turnpike to six lanes from the Lake/Sumter county line to the CR 468 interchange in 2023 and from the CR 468 interchange to I-75 in 2025; and
- Studying the deployment of traffic management tools along the US 19/98/27 route for emergency evacuation.
Short-term fuel-related improvements to be implemented no later than July at the direction of Governor Scott include:
- Working with the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and law enforcement to identify critical gas stations along state evacuation routes and plan for more efficient fuel service during emergencies;
- Assessing options for expanding fuel capacity at existing department owned facilities for first responders; and
- Coordinating with neighboring states on a communications plan on the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles during emergencies.
Long-term fuel-related improvements to be implemented at the direction of Governor Scott include:
- Assessing options for additional fuel storage and dispensing at fuel terminals in collaboration with Florida Ports and the fuel industry.
To view the full FDOT reports, please see the links below: