Let's Drive The TXDOT Hurricane Evacuation RoutePosted: Updated:
Emergency management officials, meteorologists, and those of us in the broadcast media, talk about evacuation routes for approaching storms every hurricane season.
But what route is it?
What can you possibly expect along the way?
Come take a ride with us as we drive the Texas Department of Transportation's designated evacuation route from Victoria to San Antonio, on a normal day.
We start from a place everyone is familiar with, Deleon Plaza in downtown Victoria.
We'll drive north on highway 87 towards Cuero.
Richard McBrayer emergency management coordinator explains why Texas Department of Transportation decided on this route as the official evacuation route.
"...The conditions of the roadway itself, exits off of them, those that shift from a two lane to a 4 lane, with traffic control devices on them, and those that also go into another state highway or an interstate."
Leaving Victoria, highway 87 is a four lane divided highway.
According to McBrayer, unlike highway 77, which is the only other northbound route, highway 87 is a divided highway, which can allow better traffic flow northbound, while still having enough room for emergency vehicles to move through. 77 north is mostly 2 lanes north of Victoria, causing limited access for the public and emergency vehicles.
In Cuero---there's another opportunity to get gas or food. passed Cuero--the opportunities will be come limited.
As we travel north, McBrayer reminds us why we travel northward, not east or west or parallel to the coast.
"Our greatest threat is storm surge, let's put as much land between you and where the hurricane is going to make landfall."
Imagine this one lane northbound clogged with people trying to get out of the path of an approaching hurricane---at this point traffic could be down to just a crawl so prepare to be sitting in traffic. Check your gas...batteries...that can be done in Cuero.
An hour from were we started--in downtown Victoria--Gonzales could be where you could get a third opportunity for much needed fuel and supplies.
As we continue north, the TXDOT designated route changes from highway 183 to interstate 10 westbound.
Anyone who's stopped at the Buc-ee's in Luling knows---this intersection has potential to become congested. Once on Interstate 10 westbound, the road will be converted from its normal 2 lanes to three lanes, with the shoulder counting as the third lane, as designated by the hurricane symbol painted inside the lane. According to the TXDOT, both east and westbound sides of the roadway will be changed to westbound all the way to loop 1604 in San Antonio. this is what is known as Contra- flow.
We now made it to San Antonio. while San Antonio is designated by the state of Texas for evacuees to go, the exact locations of shelters will not be determined until a storm threatens. it's vital that you leave early and know what you will do if a storm threatens.