Plan for Reverse-Laning Interstate I-65 In Alabama
For Hurricane Evacuation
VACANT, Assistant State Maintenance Engineer
Alabama Department of Transportation
1. Initial Development
1A. Introduction & Purpose
Experiences with hurricane evacuations from several storm events in the recent past, most notably hurricane Opal in Alabama, have revealed the need to investigate the logistics involved in reversing one direction of traffic on Alabama State routes to facilitate evacuation traffic flow. This process has been called "Reverse-Laning."
In response to the needs of the traveling public in emergency evacuation situations, the Alabama Department of Transportation has developed a "Reverse-Laning" plan.
The initial process is to define the scope and to take the initial steps to develop a plan for "Reverse-Laning." Some basic observations and factors that must first be considered in order to arrive at a workable "Reverse-Laning" plan must be identified and discussed. A basic course of action will be developed in this first section of the plan and will then be further developed in more detail in later sections.
1B. Current Evacuation Route Identification
Certain strategic routes have been
historically identified as hurricane evacuation routes. These
hurricane routes are "signed on the ground" as such and have
been presented to the public in various manners for their
knowledge and use. This hurricane evacuation route network
begins with state and county routes in coastal areas that then
feed into predominately North-South running state routes and
ultimately tying into North-South running US and Interstate
These existing hurricane evacuation routes serve as the base for the "Reverse-Laning" plan. Any impact the "Reverse-Laning" plan will have on the existing evacuation routes and their use must be identified and mitigated.
1C. Reverse-Laning Route Identification
1C1. Denied Access Routes
Denied access routes, or Interstates, have the
best potential for use in any "Reverse Laning" scenario. By the
very nature of their denied access, the traffic control
necessary to reverse the normal traffic flow on Interstate
routes can be accomplished by concentrating on the interchange
and termini areas.
The geographic area of Alabama where it is deemed necessary to provide a "Reverse-Laning" capability has been limited to that area of the state South of the Montgomery area. In this area there are two Interstate routes, I-10 and I-65. Interstate 10 (I-10) runs West from the Florida panhandle through Baldwin County and runs east from the Mississippi Gulf coast through Mobile County. Interstate 65 (I-65) originates at I-10 in Mobile and runs north through Montgomery and beyond.
A "Reverse-Laning" plan involving I-10 has been determined to be impractical and unnecessary at this point due to various considerations. If "Reverse-Laning" I-10 was to be considered, then storm scenarios must be developed where either I-10 from Mississippi, I-10 from Florida, or worst case, both directions of I-10, feeding into I-65 would have to be developed.
In the worst case scenario where both directions of I-10 were feeding into I-65, It is assumed that four lanes of westbound traffic from Florida and four lanes of Eastbound traffic from Mississippi would be converging on I-65. Currently, I-65 through the downtown area of Mobile is six-laned (three lanes North and three lanes South). Once North of the greater Mobile metropolitan area, I-65 reverts back to the standard four lanes (two lanes North and two lanes South). Significant capitol improvements would be required to develop ramps that could accomplish taking four Eastbound lanes and four Westbound lanes from I-10 and directing them North onto I-65. Severe congestion could be expected at the location where the eight lanes of traffic from I-10 converge onto the six lanes of I-65 and again North of the greater Mobile metropolitan where the six lanes of traffic would have to merge into four lanes. In addition, the conflicts posed by accommodating hazardous material traffic on routes that bypass the Mobile River tunnels make this strategy prohibitive. Therefore, due to these factors it is deemed unadvisable to "Reverse-Lane" I-10.
I-65, however is a practical candidate for "Reverse-Laning." Historical experience from hurricane Opal and other storm events have shown that currently the most significant traffic delays occur where evacuation traffic from Mobile County traveling North on I-65 meets evacuation traffic from Baldwin County traveling North on Alabama Routes 225, 59 and 287, also attempting to enter onto I-65 North of the Bay Minette area. Therefore, due to historical experience with traffic delays on I-65, and its being a denied access route, a "Reverse-Laning" plan will be developed utilizing I-65.
1C2. Non-Denied Access Routes
Several other North and South running routes
were considered for "Reverse-Laning." United States Routes 331,
231, & 431 (US 331, US 231, & US 431 respectively) are the most
worthy candidates of the open access routes due to their design
as principal arterials.
US 331 runs North from Florida entering the central southern Alabama border in Covington County near Florala and extends North through Montgomery. US 231 runs North from Florida entering the eastern southern Alabama border in Houston county near Dothan and extends North through Montgomery. US 431 originates off of US 231 in Dothan and extends North through Eufaula and Phenix City.
Due to these routes being open access, there are numerous intersections with Alabama State routes, County Routes, City streets and Private commercial access points and personal driveways. The logistics involved with providing traffic control devices and the manpower to assist and enforce the traffic control measures necessary to "Reverse-Lane" prove to make these routes impractical for the "Reverse-Laning" strategy. Therefore, no open access routes are to be considered for "Reverse-Laning."
1D. Reverse-Laned Route Termini
In Section 1C, Interstate 65 was selected as a practical candidate for implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" strategy. The next step is to identify the beginning and ending points to convert from two-way traffic to one-way traffic.
1D1. Southern Terminus
The previous discussion contained in Section
1C noted that, historically, traffic congestion has occurred
during hurricane evacuations on I-65 at its junction with
Alabama Routes 225, 59 and 287. Therefore, it is in this area
that the "Reverse-Laning" strategy should begin.
The southernmost of these three routes along I-65 is Alabama Route 225 and it is south of this route’s intersection with I-65 that the "Reverse-Laning" should begin. Another factor that must be considered is that just south of the Alabama Route 225 and I-65 intersection at Exit 51 are the Delta River Bridges over the Mobile and Tensaw Rivers. Therefore, it is anticipated that the "Reverse-Laning" plan will be implemented between the Delta River Bridges and the Alabama Route 225 and I-65 intersection.
It is further anticipated that a crossover ramp must be constructed between these two features. This crossover would move all existing northbound traffic on I-65 South of the implementation point over into the southbound I-65 traffic lanes. It is anticipated that traffic control devices and law enforcement officers would be required to facilitate and enforce this movement.
1D2. Northern Terminus
The discussion in Section 1C identified the
geographic area of Alabama where it is deemed necessary to
provide a "Reverse-Laning" capability as being limited to that
area of the state South of the Montgomery area. Therefore, it is
the greater Montgomery metropolitan area that will be considered
for ending the "Reverse-Laning" strategy.
Since the greater Montgomery metropolitan area itself would most likely be relatively unaffected by a storm event, it would be preferable to leave the two-way North-South traffic movements on Interstate 65 unaffected through the greater Montgomery metropolitan area itself. Therefore, to the extent practical, some location in the southern portion of the greater Montgomery metropolitan area should be selected for the northern terminus of the "Reverse-Laning" strategy.
The area encompassing the US 80 West to Selma (Exit 167) interchange and the US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass) (Exit 168) interchange with I-65 has been identified as the location where end the "Reverse-Laning" strategy would take place. One consideration for the selection of this area is the fact that US 80 West to Selma (Exit 167) interchange and the US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass) (at Exit 168) interchange with I-65 are both four-laned facilities. These facilities thereby offer the additional capacity not afforded by other two-laned facilities in the vicinity. A second consideration is fact that the US 80 West to Selma (Exit 167) interchange with I-65 can offer access to a major westbound US route, while the US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass) (Exit 168) interchange with I-65 can offer access to a major eastbound US route. A third consideration is the fact that US 31 runs parallel to I-65 between the US 80 West to Selma (Exit 167) interchange and the US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass) (Exit 168) interchange. This will allow those motorists who exit at the US 80 West to Selma (Exit 167) interchange an opportunity to take US 31 North to US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass), where they may either proceed either eastbound or westbound on US 82/US 80 or get back onto I-65 if they wish to proceed northbound.
1E. Southbound & Emergency Vehicle Access
Out of practical necessity, during the
identification and development of the limits of the
"Reverse-Laning" plan, consideration must also be given to
maintaining the availability of a southbound traffic facility.
This was a consideration when selecting the northern and
southern termini of the "Reverse-Laning" plan.
United States Route 31 runs relatively parallel to I-65 throughout the limits of the "Reverse-Laning" plan, and therefore will serve as the general southbound detour for I-65.
Normal southbound traffic and emergency vehicles would be required to Exit I-65 at the US 82/US 80 East (Montgomery Southern by-pass) (Exit 168) and follow US 31 through Hope Hull, Greenville, Georgiana, Evergreen, Brewton, Flomaton and Atmore to Bay Minette. Once in Bay Minette, normal southbound traffic will continue on US 31 South to Interstate 10, or utilize other state or county routes or city streets as necessary to reach their local destination. Once on Interstate 10, traffic can proceed either west or east to access their destination. However, provisions will be made to allow emergency vehicles to take AL 59 north from Bay Minette to Interstate 65. Once at I-65 emergency vehicles could proceed over the overpass and take the outside shoulder down the onramp to I-65 southbound and proceed down the outside shoulder southbound for approximately two miles just south of the I-65/AL 225 interchange where the beginning crossover for the "Reverse-Laning" plan is located. It must be remembered that northbound traffic will be using the normal southbound traffic lanes so emergency vehicles travelling on the southbound I-65 outside shoulder will need to take necessary precautions. Again, due to the inherent dangers this procedure should only be used for emergency vehicles in necessary situations.
1F. Crossover Ramp Movements
In addition to the northern and southern
termini crossover ramps previously discussed, four additional
crossover ramps will need to be constructed. These additional
crossover ramps will allow vehicles to move from the northbound
roadway to the southbound so as to ensure an equal distribution
of traffic onto both roadways.
Traffic control devices and possibly law enforcement officers will be required at these locations to facilitate these movements should they become necessary. Since the use of these crossover ramp facilities and the subsequent merging movements caused by the use of these crossover ramps could impede traffic flow rather than improve it, it will be necessary to monitor actual traffic conditions by some designated party to determine when the opening of these ramps is warranted will be required.
Two considerations influence where these crossover ramps should be located.
The first consideration is to locate these crossovers at locations where a significant increase in evacuation traffic merging onto I-65 can be anticipated. The first location occurs at the AL 21 interchange (Exit 57) in the vicinity of Atmore. AL 21 (and Florida 97) is a major North-South evacuation route from the extreme western panhandle of Florida and Pensacola. A second location occurs at the AL 113 interchange (Exit 69) in the vicinity of Flomaton. AL 113 (and US 29 in Florida) is also a major North-South evacuation route from the extreme western panhandle of Florida and Pensacola. The third location occurs at the AL 55 interchange (Exit 114) in the vicinity of Georgina. AL 55 is a major feeder evacuation route from south central Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, including Fort Walton Beach.
A second consideration is the equal spacing of crossovers along the "Reverse-Laning" route to facilitate the equalization of traffic loading on both sides of the Interstate. Previous considerations would have the initial crossover South of AL 59, and intermediate crossovers at AL 21, AL 113, and AL 55, all of which are about 20 to 45 miles apart. That leaves approximately 55 miles between AL 55 and the ending point of the "Reverse-Lancing" route at US 80 West. Placing one more intermediate crossover within these limits, would logically place it at AL 10 (Exit 128) in the vicinity of Greenville. There is no major evacuation route feeder in this area; however, Greenville is the largest metropolitan area along this section of roadway, and could therefore be expected to generate the largest amount of traffic onto I-65.
The intermediate crossovers will be placed just south of the interchanges identified. This placement will allow the shifting of traffic from the more congested side of the interstate to the less congested side prior to the introduction of the additional traffic at these interchanges.
Therefore, intermediate crossovers are to be placed in the vicinity of AL 21, AL 113, AL 55, and AL 10. The conceptual design and detailed location of these crossovers will be discussed in section 2 (Traffic Plan) of this document.
1G. Manpower Requirements
Alabama Department of Transportation personnel
will, at a minimum, be required to setup the traffic control
devices that have been previously mentioned at the southbound
and northbound termini, at the intermediate crossover ramps, and
at the route interchanges within the "Reverse-Laning" plan
Law enforcement officers will be required to facilitate and enforce traffic control along the "Reverse-Laning" plan route.
It is anticipated that other personnel may be required to perform other ancillary functions.
Existing traffic signing along Interstate 65 is oriented to be viewed from the normal direction of traffic. Therefore, traffic utilizing the southbound roadway for northbound movements under the "Reverse-Lancing" strategy will need some additional signage oriented so it can be viewed from their direction of travel. Additional signage would consist of signs pertaining to interchange and exit locations, as well as detour signs will be necessary.
1I. Other Traffic Control Device Requirements
The need for traffic control devices has been
discussed previously as it relates to the southern and northern
termini, and crossover ramps.
Another use of traffic control devices will be the use of variable message boards to notify southbound travelers along various interstates in Alabama North of the "Reverse-Laning" plan of the implementation of the plan and suggest alternate routes to avoid involvement.
Variable message boards will be placed along I-65 north of Birmingham, I-59 northeast of Birmingham, and I-20 east of Birmingham. Placing these variable message boards before motorists reach Birmingham will allow the motorists the opportunity to take an alternate Interstate route toward their destination and avoid the "Reverse-Laning" plan route.
1J. Plan Implementation
In conjunction with the development of "Reverse-Laning" procedures, an implementation strategy will also need to be developed.
1J1. Requirements & Authority
An internal part of the "Reverse-Laning" implementation plan is the identification of circumstances that would call for the implementation of the plan. Offices and positions have been identified that would have the authority to call for the implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field.
1J2. Sequence of
Once plan implementation is called for, field personnel need a written sequence of events to follow in regard to the erection and enforcement of traffic control so as to insure that no conflicting traffic movements are allowed. By its very nature, the "Reverse-Laning" plan is introducing traffic movements contrary to normal. Particular attention will be necessary to eliminate the potential for introducing "head-on" traffic patterns.
This sequence of events, to be called a "Field Implementation Guide", will be developed and distributed to personnel in the field for their use. However, a brief description is contained in the last section of this document.
Just as identification of circumstances that would call for the implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field is necessary, so these same issues must be addressed in regards to restoring normal traffic patterns
Furthermore, just as a sequence of events must be followed during the erection and enforcement of traffic control so as to insure that no conflicting traffic movements are allowed when the plan is implemented, a plan will also be required to follow when taking the "Reverse-Laning" plan out of implementation.
This plan reversal strategy will likewise be developed as part of the "Field Implementation Guide".
1K. Public Information & Involvement
For successful implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan to become a reality, adequate notification of the public as to the plan and its contents will be imperative.
The routine ongoing dissemination of plan information prior to storm events should be evaluated. Forms of notification could include press releases, flyers, TV and radio commercials, as well as others. ALDOT Welcome Centers and Rest Areas could be supplemental locations for the display of plan information.
As an actual storm event approaches the area, the routine dissemination of plan information could be stepped up in conjunction with other methods. These other methods could include the running of a "Reverse-Laning" hurricane evacuation video at the ALDOT Welcome Centers and Rest Areas, the use of variable message boards to convey specific site information, and the use of "low-band" radio transmitters located along the plan route to convey information about current storm strength and direction, shelter locations, medical center locations, etc. Historical responses to hurricane evacuations reveal a particular dissatisfaction by the travelling public with the lack of information available to them.
2. Traffic Plan
2A. Introduction & Purpose
The previous section of this plan identified
the general location of the beginning and ending termini, and
intermediate crossovers of the "Reverse-Laning" plan. To
successfully implement the plan the need for a significant
amount of additional traffic control devices and considerable
manpower resources has also been identified.
The remainder of this section of the plan will focus on detailing the capital improvements (beginning and ending termini, and intermediate crossovers), traffic control measures, and the staffing requirements to implement the plan.
2B. Beginning and Ending Termini
Section 1D of this document discussed the rationale for the locations of the beginning and ending points for the "Reverse-Laning" plan.
2C. Intermediate Crossovers
Section 1F of this document discussed the
rationale for the need and locations of four intermediate
crossovers. The intermediate crossovers are to be located at AL
21 (Intermediate Crossover A) near Atmore, AL113 (Intermediate
Crossover B) near Flomaton, AL 55 (Intermediate Crossover C)
near Georgiana, and AL 10 (Intermediate Crossover D) near
Traffic control devices and staffing will be required at each of these intermediate crossovers in order to aid in the safe operation of these crossovers during plan operation.
Twenty interchanges are located along I-65
within the plan limits of the "Reverse-Laning" plan. Additional
traffic control devices and staffing will be required at each of
these locations in order to aid in the safe operation of these
interchanges during plan operation.
Traffic control devices and staffing will be required at each of these I-65 interchanges in order to aid in the safe operation of these interchanges during plan operation.
2E. Manpower Requirements
The design of the beginning and ending termini, intermediate crossovers, and I-65 interchanges has been presented in this document. These designs specified the staffing requirements for each, which will be summarized in the following two sections.
2E1. Alabama Department of Transportation
ALDOT personnel will be required at both the
beginning and ending termini, intermediate crossovers, and I-65
interchanges to ensure that the required traffic control devices
are in place and in good working order throughout the duration
of the "Reverse-Laning" plan operation.
Two ALDOT personnel will be required at both termini. Three ALDOT personnel will be required at each of the four intermediate crossovers. Four ALDOT personnel will be required at each of the twenty I-65 interchanges. A total of ninety-six ALDOT personnel will be required to fill these field positions.
The 'Reverse-Laning" plan area is served by various ALDOT district offices. Several ALDOT personnel will be on duty at these district offices to provide communications and other support functions.
Two ALDOT personnel will be required to supervise the operation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan, and one or two ALDOT representatives will be located in the Alabama Emergency Management Agency's Operations Center in Clanton.
It should be noted that these figures represent the staffing requirements for a single shift. Therefore a total ALDOT staff of 105 will be required to implement the "Reverse-Laning" plan and operate a single shift. A detailed initial staffing plan for the Alabama Department of Transportation is included in this document as Appendix I.
2E2. Alabama Department of Public Safety
ADPS personnel will also be required at each
of the beginning and ending termini, intermediate crossovers,
and I-65 interchanges to enforce the required traffic control
Two ADPS officers will be required at each terminus. Two ADPS officer will also be required at each of the four intermediate crossovers. Two ADPS officers will be required at each of the twenty I-65 interchanges. This brings the total requirements for ADPS field based personnel to fifty -two.
ADPS personnel will be required to supervise the operation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan, and one or two ADPS representatives are located in the Alabama Emergency Management Agency's Operations Center in Clanton.
It should be noted that these figures represent the staffing requirements for a single shift. Therefore a total ADPS staff in excess of fifty-two will be required to implement the "Reverse-Laning" plan and operate a single shift.
2F. Traffic Control Device Requirements
The design of the beginning and ending
termini, intermediate crossovers, and I-65 interchanges have
been presented in this document. These designs specified the
number for each type of traffic control device required.
"Secondary traffic locations" outside of the actual "Reverse-Laning" plan limits need to be identified for the placement of variable message board signs. These variable message board signs would be placed in advance of the actual "Reverse-Laning" plan limits notifying the travelling public of the existence and enactment of the plan. This would allow the travelling public to select an alternate route to reach their destination prior to encountering the "Reverse-Laning" plan limits. The placement of these variable message board signs would be on I-65 north and south of Birmingham, I-59 northeast of Birmingham, and I-20 east of Birmingham. Additional ALDOT employees will be required to monitor the operation of these variable message boards.
3. Implementation Strategy
3A. Introduction & Purpose
Earlier discussions in this plan (Initial Development) identified the most logical route for "Reverse-Laning", where to begin and end this strategy, identified an alternate route for emergency southbound traffic, and briefly discussed other considerations to be resolved in order to implement and successfully operate this plan. The second section of the plan (Traffic Plan) identified the necessary capital improvements, traffic control measures, and staffing requirements to conduct this operation.
This section of the plan, Implementation Strategies, concentrates on the process and procedures under which this "Reverse-Laning" plan could be implemented. However, it must be remembered that any plan of this type may be amended or changed during the course of an actual emergency situation to address the actual conditions encountered in the field.
3B. Division of Responsibility
In order to successfully implement an
operation of this type, a well-defined and coordinated effort
crossing state agency boundaries is essential. Input and
assistance is needed from the Alabama Emergency Management
Agency (AEMA), The Alabama Department of Public Safety (ADPS),
as well as the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), and
possibly other agencies.
The Transportation Director would have the ultimate authority to call for the implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan. Due to its very nature, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency would provide information and guidance to the Transportation Director. The AEMA is equipped, staffed with its own personnel as well as representatives from each of the other supporting state agencies during times of disasters, and trained to gather and disseminate information, and coordinate relief assistance. The Alabama Department of Public Safety would have the primary responsibility for enforcement of the traffic control provisions called for within this plan. The ADPS may, due to manpower limitations, and at their discretion, call for the assistance of other law enforcement officials to man key strategic locations along the "Reverse-Laning" plan limits. While the Alabama Department of Transportation would have the responsibility of constructing the needed capitol improvements, procuring and installing the necessary traffic control devices, and maintaining these assets both prior to and during implementation of the plan.
3C. Before "Hurricane Season" Considerations
There are some considerations that ideally need to be addressed prior to the possibility of implementing the "Reverse-Laning" plan.
3C1. Personnel Assignments
One of these considerations is the
identification and assignment of personnel by the various state
agencies. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has an
established command and control structure in-house. The Alabama
Department of Public Safety needs to select and assign officers
to man key strategic traffic control locations. The ADPS should
either assign individual officers or coordinate this task with
other local law enforcement agencies. The Alabama Department of
Transportation also needs to identify and assign personnel to
key strategic traffic monitoring and traffic control points
prior to and throughout the limits of the plan.
Initial key personnel assignments and the total estimated manpower requirements have been identified in detail in the second section (Traffic Plan) of this overall plan. However, personnel changes are inevitable and the constant monitoring of the staffing plan will be necessary.
The second consideration involves the
provision of a reliable and comprehensive communication network.
The communication of administrative officials with field staff,
both within and between agencies will be essential to provide
the information necessary to ensure the proper implementation
and operation of this plan. Currently, each of the state
agencies has reliable communications within its own agency
through the use of 800Mhz Southern LINC and other traditional
radio and telephone networks. However, it has been demonstrated
that communication between field personnel of different agencies
can be troublesome and problematic.
It is advised that key personnel be provided access to shared radio frequencies to facilitate "cross-agency" communications.
3C3. Field Implementation Manual
A third consideration is the need for a "ALDOT Field Implementation Manual" that would provide clear and concise written procedures for ALDOT personnel that would guide field personnel through the sequence of events to establish and operate the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field. This manual should contain personnel assignments by position/classification, station assignment, and contact numbers. This "Field Implementation Manual" must also contain clear, concise written procedures that would guide field personnel through the sequence of events to terminate the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field and return traffic operation to normal conditions.
Periodic training and "mock" testing of this plan would be advisable to insure smooth implementation of the "Reverse-Laning" plan. This kind of periodic training could discover areas where amendments and changes to the plan may be warranted.
3C4. Public Education
And a final consideration would be early education of the travelling public as to the existence of the "Reverse-Laning" plan. Educational efforts could include television, radio, and print media, distribution of informational flyers at special events as well at regular distribution points such as Alabama welcome centers/rest areas, drivers' license offices, etc. The more the travelling public knows about the plan and its provisions the better they could be expected to react once the plan was implemented.
3D. Pre-staging of Assets
The goal of pre-staging assets is to have the
necessary manpower prepared to act, and the equipment on-hand
and available, prior to the actual call to implement the
"Reverse-Laning" plan. Essential manpower and equipment should
be placed at predetermined strategic locations prior to the call
for plan implementation in order to reduce the chance of needing
to mobilize into the plan area after severe traffic congestion
has already occurred and gotten out-of-hand.
These assets may include 4-wheel drive vehicles with motorist assistance supplies, traffic counting equipment, variable message boards and other traffic control equipment, and low-band AM radio transmitters. Convenient locations to store these assets, or otherwise make sure these are readily available, need to be selected and provisions made to acquire whatever space, transportation, etc. may be required.
3E. Operating Conditions
Operating condition levels have been
identified that specify what actions are to be taken when
certain external conditions occur. Most of these external
conditions are based on advisories and warnings as issued by the
National Weather Service. The operating levels are described
It should be noted that criteria specified to call a level into operation are general in nature and other conditions may arise which necessitate placing a level into operation.
3E1. Level 1
Operating level 1 begins at the onset of the normal hurricane season, which begins June 1st.
Review of necessary assets should be made and provisions made to ensure that all equipment and material is in the predetermined staging locations and in good working order. This will include but is not limited to, checking the operation of variable message signs, arrow boards and generators (both portable and stationary). All necessary materials shall be inventoried and insured that they are placed at their required staging areas. These materials are to include message and arrow boards, generators, barricades, signs, trailers, communications equipment, etc. All permanently mounted and installed signs will be inventoried and inspected, then cleaned and replaced as necessary.
Personnel assignments will be reviewed with staff and adjustments made as necessary.
Weather information sources shall be continuously monitored for the development of tropical disturbances and storms
Level 1 status should remain in effect unless a more critical level is enacted or until the end of the hurricane season.
3E2. Level 2
Operating level 2 would be enacted anytime the
National Weather Service declares a hurricane watch for any
portion of the Florida panhandle, the Alabama Gulf Coast, or the
Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Review of necessary assets should be made and provisions made to ensure that all equipment and material is the predetermined staging locations and in good working order.
Personnel assignments shall be reviewed and adjusted as necessary. Assigned personnel should be contacted and informed of the hurricane watch and put "on-call" and be prepared to report to their "Reverse-Laning" station.
All equipment and materials are to be loaded and ready for transport to assigned locations. Final operational checks will be performed; all vehicles are to be fueled and ready "to roll".
Assigned ALDOT personnel will be advised to make plans for the safety of their families and property.
Weather information sources shall be continuously monitored for the further development of hurricane conditions.
Level 2 status should remain in effect unless a more critical level is enacted or until the hurricane watch for the Gulf Coast is cancelled.
3E3. Level 3
Operating level 3 would be enacted when the
National Weather Service upgrades a hurricane watch for the
Florida Panhandle, the Alabama Gulf Coast, or the Mississippi
Gulf Coast to a hurricane warning.
All personnel, vehicles, variable message signs and arrow boards are to be moved into their designated positions, and be on "stand-by" for the call to implement the plan.
Weather information sources shall be monitored for the further development of hurricane conditions.
It is anticipated that the AEMA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will have been activated under these conditions. AEMA, ADPS, and ALDOT representatives at the EOC and in the field will confer and confirm that all assigned personnel have been contacted and have reported to their "Reverse-Laning" stations.
ALDOT and ADPS Traffic Monitoring Teams will be assigned to their predetermined stations and begin gathering information on continuing weather and traffic conditions. This information is to be reported to the ALDOT Command Center in Montgomery, and the ALDOT and ADPS representatives at the EOC, who in turn will keep the AEMA Director notified.
3E4. Level 4
The Transportation Director, based on all
available weather and traffic congestion information, will call
operating level 1 into effect. The Transportation Director will
then inform the Directors of the ADPS and AEMA of the decision
to implement the "Reverse-Laning" operation. The respective
directors would then in turn notify their own agency personnel
to proceed with the "Reverse-Laning" plan implementation.
Level 4 would stay in effect until a call for "Reversed-Laning" plan termination is received from the Transportation Director. This determination from the Transportation Director would be based on weather and traffic congestion information gathered by field personnel monitoring the operation of the plan transmitted to the ALDOT & ADPS representatives. Again, the ALDOT representatives at the EOC would then contact their field personnel and notify them of the decision to terminate the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field also following the written provisions in the "ALDOT Field Implementation Manual.
3F. Sequence of Events
The "Field Implementation Manual" is to provide clear and concise written procedures guiding field personnel through the sequence of events to establish, operate and terminate the "Reverse-Laning" plan in the field and should be consulted for a complete explanation of this process. However, the following discussion presents the concept of putting this process into use.
3F1. Plan Implementation
At the inception of Level 3 plan operation,
all assigned personnel have reported to their "Reverse-Laning"
The ALDOT personnel assigned to traffic control device operation and maintenance shall place and anchor all variable message boards into position and position all "flip-down" signs so they may be read by the "reversed-laned" traffic. The variable message boards will not be turned on, as there will not be any "reversed-laned" traffic as of yet. Each ALDOT employee will have specific sign/message board assignments.
Each traffic control location (interchange, intermediate crossover, etc.) will have a crew leader assigned. Once each ALDOT employee completes his tasks under Level 3, he/she will report to the crew leader. Once all tasks have been completed and the crew leader notified, the crew leader will in turn notify the ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor.
The ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor will keep a checklist of each traffic control location. Not until all traffic control locations have reported that Level 3 tasks are completed will the ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor confirm that they are ready for Level 4.
Once the Transportation Director calls for the "Reverse-Laning" plan to be implemented under Level 4, ALDOT employees will barricade the southbound entrance ramp at each I-65 interchange. At this same time other ALDOT employees will position all I-65 South detour "flip-down" signs so that the motorist may read them. At this point in time no new traffic will be allowed to enter I-65 Southbound, but rather will follow the I-65 South detour (US 31).
After each I-65 interchange southbound entrance ramp has been barricaded, one ADPS officer shall be located at the southbound exit ramp gores. These ADPS officers are to direct all southbound I-65 traffic off I-65 and up the exit ramp. There they may follow the I-65 South detour. At this same time the other ADPS officer at each interchange is to proceed south on I-65 and ensure that all southbound I-65 traffic is cleared between that starting location and the next interchange. Once reaching the next interchange that officer shall pass the officer at the southbound exit ramp, proceed up the exit ramp and position him/herself at the junction of the southbound exit and entrance ramps. The ADPS officers who are positioned at the southbound exit ramp gores are then to position themselves at the junction of the northbound exit and entrance ramps and notify the ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor that that particular section of I-65 is clear and ready for "reverse-laning".
The ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor will keep a checklist of each section of I-65. Not until all sections of I-65 have been cleared for "reverse-laning" will the ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor confirm that they are ready to introduce northbound traffic flow onto the southbound I-65 traffic lanes.
Once this occurs, the ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor and ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor shall confer and ensure that both parties are ready to introduce northbound traffic flow onto the southbound I-65 traffic lanes. When both parties are ready, they shall notify their field personnel by radio that the introduction of northbound traffic flow onto the southbound I-65 traffic lanes is about to begin. The ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor shall then contact the ADPS officer at the beginning crossover and instruct him/her to place the crossover into operation and thereby introduce northbound traffic flow onto the southbound I-65 traffic lanes. An ADPS officer shall lead the initial traffic onto the southbound i-65 traffic lanes.
ALDOT personnel are to man the barricades at the southbound entrance ramps and only allow vehicles to exit I-65 from the southbound roadway. ADPS and ALDOT crews are to continue to pay particular attention to these locations to prevent the introduction of southbound traffic onto I-65. ALDOT personnel are to monitor the operation of all traffic control devices and ensure their proper operation throughout the duration of the "Reverse-Laning" plan operation.
ADPS officers are to remain at their stations at the junctions of the exit/entrance ramps and enforce the traffic control provisions. Again, paying particular attention to preventing the introduction of southbound traffic onto I-65.
During operation of the plan it is envisioned that ADPS clearance officers and/or possibly an ADPS helicopter unit monitor the plan route to confirm its proper operation.
It is also envisioned that additional ADPS officers and ALDOT employees be assigned to monitor the I-65 South Detour route that utilizes US 31 to ensure its proper operation.
Traffic is to be observed by ALDOT personnel and ADPS officers throughout plan operation. Significant traffic observations are to be reported to either the ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor or ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor. ALDOT and ADPS vehicles shall be stationed along the plan route to assist disabled motorists and clear the route.
If it becomes apparent that the northbound traffic lanes are experiencing a much heavier traffic volume the ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor is to call for the operation of one or more of the intermediate crossovers. This will shift a portion of the northbound traffic from the northbound lanes onto the southbound lanes, and equally distribute the traffic load. It will be at the discretion of the ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor to call for or take out of implementation any intermediate crossover.
3F2. Plan Reversal
Once the Transportation Director calls for the
"Reverse-Laning" plan to be taken out of service the termination
of the "Reverse-Laning" plan operation would generally follow
the following procedure.
The ALDOT "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor shall confer with the ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor and notify him/her of the decision to take the plan out of operation. Both supervisors shall notify their field personnel by radio that the "Reverse-Laning" plan is about to be taken out of operation. The ADPS "Reverse-Laning" Supervisor shall then contact the ADPS officer at the beginning crossover and instruct him/her to take the crossover out of operation and thereby restricting the northbound traffic flow to the northbound I-65 traffic lanes.
One of the two ADPS officers at the beginning crossover is then to proceed northbound on the southbound traffic lanes ensuring that all northbound traffic is cleared behind him. As the ADPS Clearance Officer passes an interchange, that interchange may be placed back into normal operation. This procedure is to continue northward until the entire "Reverse-Laning" plan limits have been returned to normal operation.