Low Country Evacuation Route Changes

If a serious storm starts heading our way, do you know how to get out of town? Due to past evacuation nightmares, Beaufort County's making some changes. Those living along the Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton and residents of Sun City will each have different routes they'll need to know about in case we have to evacuate.

Homes are popping up left and right along the parkway, adding thousands of more families to the area. That may be good for the growth of the community, but it means more people on the highways trying to evacuate during a hurricane. That's why the evacuation routes are changing.

"We'll bring those folks out to Highway 46 and to the Hardeeville area so they can go north or south on 95," explained William Winn, director of Beaufort County Emergency Management. "The third lane coming off Hilton Head Island will be going to Highway 170 to join the 46 crowd going to Hardeeville."

The idea is to keep traffic moving and get people safely out of Beaufort County.

Sun City residents have a new route too. They'll now be heading to William Jasper Blvd. over to Highway 170 and out Highway 462 to Coosawhatchie.

"This gives them several thousand people coming out of Sun City to have their own route out so they don't get involved in the Hilton Head evacuation," explained Winn.

Although there hasn't been a mandatory hurricane evacuation since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the Emergency Management is encouraging everyone to prepare for the worst. "We want people to be hurricane ready, not hurricane terrified," said Winn.  "They are massive storms and can be disastrous, as they came into a community. You need to be prepared."

Emergency Management is encouraging you to get a hurricane plan in place for you and your family, know where you are going, what you're going to take and how you're going to get there.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com