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MDOT readies interstate evacuation plan

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 25, 2002
Isidore could cause Interstate 59 to run backwards.
On Tuesday, the Mississippi Transportation Commission gave its OK to initiate what it calls "contraflow" if Isidore becomes a Category 3 hurricane with 111-130 mph winds and Louisiana asks for help.
Contraflow is a hurricane evacuation plan that would make all lanes on the interstate run northbound from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line to Hattiesburg.
Amy Hornback, a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, said barricades would be set up to prevent motorists from going the wrong way if the contraflow is put in place.
She said that if Isidore becomes a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 131-155 mph and additional manpower is available, the all-northbound traffic could be routed to Laurel.
Wayne Brown, chairman of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, said the contraflow plan is necessary.