OKEECHOBEE – The eastbound lane of State Road 70 was bumper-to-bumper traffic on Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents sought safety from the oncoming Hurricane Ian.
About 300,000 Gulf Coast residents have been ordered to evacuate.
Okeechobee drivers who normally use the intersection of Fifth Avenue and State Road 70 to turn onto SR 70 will need to use a different route. On Tuesday afternoon, the City of Okeechobee closed Fifth Avenue at the intersection of State Road 70 to help move the eastbound traffic along.
For years, the Okeechobee County Commission has asked Florida Department of Transportation to four-lane SR 70 coast-to-coast. The traffic snarl created by the evacuation illustrates that need.
Hurricane Ian is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge along much of the state’s west coast, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region.