TxDOT preparing for hurricane season by organizing evacuation plans
The Texas Department of Transportation is preparing for what could happen during hurricane season.
As part of that preparation, TxDOT is constantly checking the hurricane evacuation system contraflow, which leads people out of the Valley.
It's only enacted to evacuate cities during extreme circumstances, like a major hurricane.
A major part of hurricane preparations is organizing an evacuation plan and organizing a system called contraflow.
“The process of contraflow involves making all lanes one way,” Pharr TxDOT spokesman Ray Pedraza said. “For a hurricane, we would essentially have traffic moving inland, away from the coast, headed both west and north. And it would be something enacted in an extreme circumstance during a mandatory evacuation.”
A mandatory evacuation order can only be issued from a county judge or city mayor, depending on the threat level.
The threat level is measured on the area, where it is going to hit, and the category of the storm.
Once the order is given, construction activity at all construction sites would stop, and material and machinery would be secured. This will allow TxDOT to open and use all available lanes in construction zones to start contraflow.
“As far as the routes for a Hurricane, we would contraflow I-69E (US 77), I-69C (US 281), Interstate 2 (US 83) and State Highway 100,” Pedraza said.
Knowing when to make the call for an evacuation is key.
“Timing is very critical, and it would probably be triggered anywhere from 48 to 36 hours out,” Hidalgo County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricardo Saldaña said.