Why interstate contraflow isn’t on “stand-by” during Hurricane Season?


My understanding is it wasn’t enabled prior to Hurricane Ida’s landfall due to time constraints, thus making evacuations harder for some.


In: Other

It’s not as simple as just saying “contraflow enabled” and expecting everyone to follow the rules.

You have to contact every bordering state involved with the implementation and get them to put up signs, erect barriers, station police to catch people trying to break the rules, etc. You also have to do that yourself. Otherwise it’s chaos and you’re guaranteeing that there are going to be collisions.

There are also issues like making sure hospitals still have a way to get their supplies and many other logistical problems to solve.

From what I’m reading, they had about 52 hours to do this. That’s a little more than 3 days, but if there’s equipment involved I could see why it doesn’t happen in a hurry.

I’m afraid the answer is so simple because there’s not more to it. They decided they needed evacuation at a point in time where they needed longer to enact contraflow than they had. There’s no point to trying to start it if you can’t finish, it doesn’t help anyone and it wastes resources.

Why did they have so little time? Usually a hurricane that is strong enough to make evacuation seem necessary start building up their strength much sooner. Ida started building its strength unprecedentedly close. Climate change is a trip.

There’s not a good way to put it on “standby”. You’d have to pay a lot of people to sit in a chair all hurricane season, ready to move barriers in the blink of an eye. You’d have to get hospitals and other vital services to reroute all their supply chains so they won’t go “against” contraflow. That could cost an awful lot of money, and people would whine that it’s going to waste 90% of the time.