I-95 remains closed by Florence’s flooding

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A nine-mile northbound stretch of Interstate 95 in South Carolina, just south of the North Carolina line, remained closed Monday due to flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Large segments of the major corridor also were closed in North Carolina, making north-south travel subject to long detours.

Transportation officials strongly advised north-south travelers to take wide detours — involving traveling hundreds of additional miles — around the eastern parts of both Carolinas, where rising river waters, caused by Florence’s torrential rains, were flooding stretches of I-95.

One bright spot for travelers?

In South Carolina, officials did reopen Monday morning the southbound lanes of I-95 from mile marker 181 to mile marker 190, just south of the North Carolina line, and traffic again started flowing southward, said S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins.

“But they are evaluating that, and it could change at any time,” Collins said about 3 p.m. Monday.

The flow of traffic Monday from North Carolina into South Carolina was considerably less than it normally would be because large portions of I-95 in the Tar Heel State were closed due to flooding.

Many motorists driving on the just-reopened southbound I-95 lanes in South Carolina appeared to be local, Collins said. “I’m sure it helped some of the residents of Dillon get to Florence.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation reported Monday afternoon that I-95 North was closed between Exits 65 and 73. Both north and southbound lanes were closed from mile marker 13 to mile marker 46. Southbound I-95 lanes also were closed between Exits 81 and 65 in North Carolina.

I-95 is one of the nation’s busiest traffic corridors, running from Maine to Florida. It is a major route for college students, truckers and vacationers, as well as drug smugglers and gun runners.

S.C. officials advised northbound travelers coming from Georgia to either take I-85 through Greenville to Charlotte, or leave I-95 at Interstates 26 or 20, and drive to Columbia and get on I-77 to Charlotte.

In North Carolina, flooding was so bad that officials Monday advised motorists not to travel “in southern, central and eastern parts of the state.” Southbound travelers from Virginia should detour to the western part of North Carolina, then go south and east to link up with I-95 South again, officials said.

In South Carolina, for about 30 miles south of the North Carolina line, I-95 goes through low-lying swampland that drains several river basins, including the Great Pee Dee and the Little Pee Dee rivers. Those rivers originate in North Carolina and flow southeast toward the S.C. coast, south of Myrtle Beach.

Flooding from Florence’s heavy rains also has shut down hundreds of other roads in both Carolinas.

Information about the latest road closures is being posted by the S.C. and N.C. Departments of Transportation, as well as tweeted out by S.C. state troopers, including Lt. Bob “Trooper Bob” Beres.

“Fast water continues to flow under I-95 in Dillion County,” Beres tweeted Monday, adding a video of rushing swamp water flowing under the interstate. “This is about 25 miles south of the North Carolina state line.”