FHP troopers aim to keep interstate traffic moving as Irma approaches

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As Irma churns towards Florida, thousands of anxious Floridians aren’t waiting to get out of harms way. Many evacuating from South Florida are making their way to their destinations through the Tampa Bay area. Depending on the time of day, that can mean gridlock on the roadways.

I-75 through Pasco and Hernando counties saw a heavy volume of traffic on Wednesday, but traffic seemed to ease up on Thursday.

Andy and Raquel Dickson took a break at the interstate rest stop north of State Road 54 to give their dogs a walk. They are not complaining about their journey.

“I have my mother-in-law with me. I have a seven-month-old, we just had a new baby, and three dogs and we’re doing great on I-75,” said Dickson. “We’ve only seen like ten accidents and we haven’t been in them, so we’re good.”

With Pinellas County ordering mandatory evacuations and Pasco County passing a voluntary evacuation order, the Florida Highway Patrol expects to see more residents taking to the highways.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins says that’s why he is urging motorists to be patient and alert.

“A lot of people out on the road, trying to make sure they have gas, fuel, food, things of that nature,” said Gaskins, “So again, pay attention, watch those signals so we don’t have crashes.”

Gaskins adds troopers have two main objectives while we await Irma’s arrival: helping stranded motorists and making sure traffic is moving. But, that does not give drivers who violate traffic laws a free pass. Troopers are still watching speeds and issuing citations.

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