Florida’s COVID-19 Travel Checkpoint on I-95 Leaves Traffic Backed Up For Hours
Jacksonville, FL – A Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) checkpoint along Interstate 95 at the Florida/Georgia border had to be shut down for a time on Sunday after a traffic backup stretched for miles.
FDOT officials hoped the implementation of two new checkpoints at Florida’s borders with Georgia and Alabama would go much more smoothly.
Unfortunately, it did not, and by Sunday afternoon, FDOT officials shut the I-95 checkpoint down for approximately four hours in order to plan a different traffic cone pattern hoping to improve the flow.
According to a Jacksonville local news outlet, News 4, traffic appeared to flow much better after the changes.
Still, frustrated travelers avoided barriers on the U.S. 17 exit to avoid the long lines on I-95.
Videos of motorists dodging “road closed” barriers went viral on social media on Sunday.
In response, FDOT announced Sunday evening it would be closing the I-95 southbound ramp to U.S. 17.
The checkpoints were deployed in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s Executive Order issued on Friday, March 27, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak within the Sunshine State.
As part of Executive Order 20-86, Gov. DeSantis ordered motorists traveling from areas with “substantial community spread,” including Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, be required to isolate for a period of 14 days upon entry to Florida or for the duration of their visit, whichever is shorter.
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Additionally, the Governor’s order directed FDOT to set up checkpoints at I-95 at the Georgia/Florida line, and I-10 at the Alabama/Florida line, in order to screen travelers coming into the state.
“Motorists should expect to be directed by law enforcement to enter the weigh station,” an FDOT press release said. “Depending upon the motorist’s origin, they will be directed to either proceed back to the Interstate or to pull aside for further screening.”
Further, FDOT says the checkpoints will be staffed 24 hours a day with approximately 16 Florida Highway Patrol troopers in 12-hour shifts.
The Executive Order exempts commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
However, FDOT asks that all CMVs proceed in the left lane bypassing the checkpoints to “ensure timely delivery of products across the state.”
“No checkpoints within the state impede commerce or the timely delivery of products across Florida,” FDOT said.
Additionally, truckers are not subject to the self-isolation requirements.
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