Hurricane Sandy’s approach will make Delaware’s roadways more dangerous, leading Gov. Jack Markell to implement a statewide Level One Driving Warning, which encourages motorists to cease any nonemergency travel beginning at 8 p.m. tonight.
“The storm is getting closer, the roads more dangerous and the need for caution greater. If there’s not a critical need for you to be on the roads, stay off of them,” said Markell. “I encourage employers to think seriously about following the state’s lead and allowing non-essential employees to remain home tomorrow. Emergency personnel are working hard to meet the storm’s challenge. Don’t give them the extra work of needing to come to your rescue."
Markell signed legislation in 2010 giving the state greater flexibility to increase public safety by limiting travel during times of emergency. The three levels are:
· Level One Driving Warning: Drivers are discouraged from operating a motor vehicle on the state's roadways, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.
· Level Two Driving Restriction: Travel on the roads is restricted to emergency workers, public utilities, healthcare providers including hospital staff, private sector food and fuel deliveries, and those industries, companies or organization that have been provided a waiver, including businesses with pressing continuity and operational issues.
· Level Three Driving Ban: Complete ban on driving except for first responders, and utility personnel. Businesses and organizations should adjust work schedules so that employees do not need to be on the roads during a Level 3 Driving Ban.
The state will continue to monitor the storm’s progress to determine if a heightened driving restriction is required tomorrow afternoon as the storm’s center moves closer to Delaware.
Recommended evacuation routes can be found at http://deldot.gov/information/projects/tmt/evac_map.shtml. Note that it is recommended that those in Sussex ocean communities south of the Indian River Inlet travel west along major arteries (routes 26 and 54) to U.S. 113 to leave the area rather than north on Route 1
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has already closed State Route 1 between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach due to high water levels on the roadway. The alternate evacuation route for those affected by the closure is travel west on DE54/DE20 to U.S. 113 northbound, or on DE24 to U.S. 113 southbound. Drivers can also travel west on DE26 to U.S. 113 northbound. DelDOT also suspended tolls on SR 1 as to noon on Sunday, Oct. 28.
Additionally, transportation officials in Maryland advise that the westbound U.S. 50 bridge over U.S. 301 is restricted to one lane, due to construction. Maryland officials advise avoiding that route to avoid lengthy backups.