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US Department of Transportation Resources for Hurricane Florence

US Department of Transportation Resources for Florence
U.S. Department of Transportation
Storm Response Highlights Report
As of 12:00 p.m. Sept. 16

Contact: Marianne McInerney 202-366-0305

U.S. DOT Updates by Operating Administration:

The Department’s Crisis Management Center (CMC) monitors on-going weather impacting Americans 24/7 and is fully staffed and activated until further notice.

USDOT has established a Routing Assistance Hotline to support the movement of Federal, State and local response personnel, equipment and goods during the Florence response efforts.  The line is operated 24/7.  The hotline number is 1-833-STORM18 (786-7618).

USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics created an interactive web mapping application to provide real-time situational awareness of the storm path and its impact on user-selected transportation infrastructure.  The application is public facing and can be shared with others.   The direct link is here. Mapping functions include basic map navigation (zoom in/out and pan), location search, print (pdf, gif, png, jpg, etc.), bookmarks, base map selection, drawing, measurement, swipe and the ability to add external data. 

Federal Aviation Administration

  • Air Traffic operations in the area directly affected by Florence have been suspended. Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center has implemented four alternate routes for transiting operations for Florence.
  • FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are fulfilling requests from Wilmington International and Albert J Ellis Airports for generators to facilitate their return to operations.
  • FAA facilities closed - eight Air Traffic Management facilities; four non-NAS facilities.
  • Local law enforcement is expressing concern about drone hobbyists interfering with disaster response. FAA plans to increase messaging and outreach on appropriate UAS use.
  • Charleston International Airport – resumed normal operations
  • Airport closures:
    • Coastal Carolina Regional Airport
      • Airport has no power; roads to airport are flooded
      • Generators turned off to conserve fuel
      • Estimated re-opening to be determined
  • Wilmington International Airport:
    • Will receive an emergency generator when the roads are passable
    • Terminal building is not ready to accept passengers
  • Albert J Ellis Airport
    • Commercial power out to terminal building, Automated Weather Observing Systems and navigational aids
    • Airport has generator power to airfield facilities
    • Requesting either a 150kW generator or 650kW generator
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport – closed except for emergency operations, lifeguard, Coast Guard, and military
  • Florence Regional Airport; all flights cancelled until September 16
  • Airports at Air Traffic Control (ATC)
    • Fayetteville Regional Airport; reopened; power restored
    • Grand Strand Airport; returned to normal operations; ATC Alert
    • Myrtle Beach International Airport

Federal Highway Administration

  • As flooding recedes, damage assessments will be performed by FHWA and the State DOT personnel as it becomes safe to do so.
  • North Carolina
    • National Highway System (NHS) road closures due to flooding and/or debris:
      • I-40 between Wilmington and I-95 (approximately 100 miles)
      • I-95 between Exit 65 (NC-82) to Exit 138 (US-64, Rocky Mount)
      • I-95 between MM 19 and MM 22 (Lumberton, NC)
      • US-17 in Washington, NC and River Bend, NC and Pollocksville, NC; Harker’s Island, NC to Beaufort, NC; Brunswick County, NC; Bridgeton, NC
      • US-21 Sparta, NC
      • US-70 in Beaufort and New Bern, NC
      • US-264 near Belhaven, NC and Pantego, NC
      • US-421 Brunswick County, NC
      • NC-12 from Kitty Hawk, NC to Hatteras Village, NC; Ocracoke Island- pavement damage observed, 2 miles of dunes washed out, assessments underway
      • US-1 near Rockingham, NC
      • US-64 in Dare, NC
      • US-117 in Warsaw, NC
      • US-158 in Dare, NC
      • US-701 near Four Oaks, NC
    • VA and NC DOT using message signs to alert motorists about the I-95 closure in NC
      • Through traffic from I-95 in GA advised to use
        • I-16 West to
        • I-75 North to
        • I-81 North to
        • I-64 East back to I-95 in Virginia.
      • Traffic from I-95 in VA advised to use
        • I-64 West to
        • I-81 South to
        • I-75 South to
        • I-16 East back to I-95 in Georgia
    • 11 bridges to barrier islands closed:
      • Wrightsville Beach Drawbridge (US 74-76)
      • Wright Memorial Bridge (US-158)
      • Snows Cut Bridge (US-421)
      • NC-12
      • Virginia Dare Bridge (US-64)
      • William B. Umstead Bridge (US-64)
      • Atlantic Beach Bridge (US-70); Trent River Draw Bridge
      • Emerald Isle Bridge (NC-58)
      • Odell Williamson Bridge (NC-904)
      • Holden Beach Bridge (NC-130)
      • Sunset Beach Bridge (SR-1172)
  • South Carolina
    • SC DOT reports I-95 is closed in South Carolina at MM 186 in Dillon County
      • Detour established at Exit 181 for northbound travel and Exit 190 for southbound travel
      • No estimated time for reopening
    • SC DOT anticipates roadway flooding to occur at the following re-entry locations to the Myrtle Beach region:
      • US-501 near Galivants Ferry in Horry County, SC
      • US-501 in Conway, SC near the Power Plant. SC DOT is working with USACE on barriers and sandbags. SC-22, via US-701, to North Myrtle Beach is a possible alternate route.
    • SC DOT and its Team South Carolina partners will begin work on two locations of US 378 in the Pee Dee region on Sunday September 16, to construct a flood barrier to protect the highway from Hurricane Florence floodwaters that are expected to overtop the bridges by Tuesday without this protective barrier at these locations:
      • US 378 at Lynches River, approximately two miles east of Lake City.
      • The US 378 interchange at the US 501 Bypass in Conway.
      • Motorists should expect delays and alternative traffic patterns in the vicinity of these two work zones. The construction of these barriers is expected to be complete by Monday evening.
    • SC DOT reports it has cleared all roads of trees and debris in the counties affected by the storm except for a few locations involving downed power lines.
    • SCDOT urges drivers to continue to use extreme caution on the roads and obey the reduced speed limits when driving through work zones, particularly at work sites on US 378.
    • SCDOT reports it has 2,294 maintenance employees working in response to Hurricane Florence.
    • SCDOT reports it has 1,114 vehicles and heavy equipment working in the response effort.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

  • The FMCSA has made the Emergency Declarations, Waivers, Exemptions and Permits site available for motor carriers and drivers to access up to date information on hurricane-related issues.
  • Regional Emergency Declaration is very active for responders on standby (debris removal, electrical utility contractors, and fuel haulers). All awaiting to move heavy equipment into the impacted areas once cleared by the applicable state and FEMA
    • Expanded coverage to TN, KY, WV, DC, OH, MD, and PA for Commercial Motor Vehicle assistance with the movement of conveys
    • Power restoration has begun in certain areas
  • The FMCSA has issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion Determination, Regional Declaration of Emergency 2018-007.
  • Under this Notice, FMCSA is coordinating with the following entities:
  • Trucking Companies who are transporting heavy equipment to North and South Carolina for Debris Removal.
  • Utility/electrical contractors coming from 20 states & 40,000 workers to restore power.
  • Fuel tankers who will be positioned along evacuation routes as well as high traffic areas where they can begin refueling operations at convenience stores. 

Federal Railroad Administration

  • The FRA Administrator has declared an emergency event pursuant to 49 CFR 211.45 based on the imminent threat posed by Hurricane Florence.  The declaration opens Emergency Relief Docket (FRA 2018-013) and allow railroads to directly upload requests for relief from specific regulations based on the emergency event.  The declaration also sets aside notification requirements (Federal Register Announcements and requests for comments) normally used for a waiver so that FRA can expeditiously respond to a waiver request. 
  • All Railroads are a holding traffic as required around affected areas.
  • All Carriers have begun preliminary inspections; encountering inaccessible areas and downed trees.
  • Specific Railroad Status is available at We are highlighting a few significant updates below:
    • Amtrak has suspended service south of Washington, DC and are continuing a modified schedule which effects service from Richmond, VA to Jacksonville, FL. Amtrak continues to update their service alerts on their website and are awaiting host carrier inspections
    • Norfolk Southern
      • Headquarters remains open; no personnel evacuation
      • Closed between Morehead City, NC and Raleigh, NC
      • Closed between Columbia, SC and Charleston, SC
      • Tracks in New Bern, NC are out of service

Federal Transit Administration

  • All FTA regional offices remain open, including FTA’s Region 3 office in Philadelphia and FTA Region 4 offices in Atlanta and San Juan, Puerto Rico and all FTA staff are accounted for and safe.
  • 27 transit agencies in the Carolinas have provided emergency transportation to shelters for over 1,200 individuals.
  • FTA’s Acting Administrator has reached out to 20 transit agency CEOs, state DOTs, and local government officials in VA, NC, SC, and GA to offer assistance. The Acting Administrator also now has made 14 calls to transit agencies in WV, TN, and KY to emphasize preparedness and coordinate response.  The FTA Emergency Relief Docket is open and no requests have been received.
  • Transit Agency Overview with the status of all Impacted Transit Systems.

Maritime Administration

  • Sector North Carolina:
    • NC Ferry: one route is open - Currituck-Knotts Island ferry; 3 vessels were moved to Hatteras awaiting opening of NC-12
    • NOAA will have assets to NC on September 17-18 to survey from the sea buoy toward ports. NOAA is bringing small boats to collaborate with USACE on surveying channels.
    • USCG – will conduct a flyover for aids to navigation after their mission of Search and Rescue is addressed.
  • Port of Wilmington:
    • No power at the port or in the general area to receive cargo. Assessments of the port infrastructure still underway
    • USACE has a boat in the Cape Fear River and plans to start surveying tomorrow. A full survey could take 1.5 days to complete start-finish.
  • Port of Morehead City:
    • Closed or impaired surface-transportation is currently prohibiting access for port and Federal partners. No infrastructure assessments can be conducted
    • USACE survey vessel at the port was not damaged, but crew cannot access the vessel
    • USACE is arranging additional crew to survey ferry channels.
  • Port Conditions:
    • Savannah MSU – open with restrictions
    • Charleston – open with restrictions
    • Wilmington - closed
    • Morehead City – closed
  • SafeStor Operations
    • Cape Rise, Norfolk, offload completion tentatively scheduled for September 17. 26 vehicles remain onboard.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

  • PHMSA is monitoring pipeline operations in KY, TN, OH, and PA where heavy rains are expected.
  • Colonial Pipeline is reporting their pipelines are operating normally.
  • The American Petroleum Institute (API) highlighted the need for expedient reentry to PHMSA regulated facilities following Hurricane Florence’s landfall for response and recovery. API asked that PHMSA and other trade associations share any information pertinent to this effort with them.
  • PHSMA issued Emergency Waiver Order – No. 6 to the Federal Register for persons conducting operations under the direction of EPA and USCG for recovery and cleanup from Hurricane Florence.  The waivers, authorized under 49 U.S.C 5103(c), allow EPA Regions 3 and 4 and the USCG’s Fifth and Seventh Districts—or persons conducting operations under their direction—to safely remove, transport, and dispose of non-radioactive hazardous materials in affected states to staging areas within 50 miles of the point of origin under alternative safety requirements when compliance with the hazardous materials regulations is impracticable.
  • TransCanada reported to PHMSA that they have shut down the Chesapeake LNG facility in Chesapeake, VA until September 16, 2018.
  • Dixie Pipeline (NGL) (OK) has shut in due to storage limits at the delivery end.  No date to re-open noted.
  • Plains Marketing has shut down the Tirzah System (LPG) (SC) no date to re-open noted.
  • International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) in Macon Georgia is currently ensuring their customers receive all available product by Friday afternoon (9/14/2018). The IMTT regulated pipelines will not disburse product over the weekend. The pipeline will be assessed on Monday (9/17/2018) prior to any product shipments.
  • PHMSA is coordinating with the Southern Region Regional Emergency Transportation Representative (RETREP) regarding volunteer staffing at the FEMA building in Atlanta, GA; PHMSA’s availability; and our ability at assist with special permits and Emergency Waiver Orders.
  • PHMSA is coordinating with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DOE and is sharing regular updates with the Defense Logistics Agency and the Transportation Security Administration on pipeline infrastructure. PHMSA has provided support to DHS’s National Risk Management Center with infrastructure assessments. Regional Field Offices are prepared to assist federal, state, and local partners when requested.
  • PHMSA’s Southern and Eastern Regional offices have reached out to regulated operators in the areas potentially affected by Hurricane Florence. Buckeye, Dominion, Enbridge, Enterprise, Kinder Morgan (Plantation), Plains Marketing, TransCanada, and Williams are reporting that they are monitoring Hurricane Florence and are implementing their hurricane plans. Dominion is reporting that they are testing their generators, staging water pumps, and scheduling additional labor at critical facilities prior to landfall.


Last updated: Sunday, September 16, 2018