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4.4 Transportation Impacts

There appeared to be little impact to the transportation system due to the Graniteville incident. The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office cordoned off the evacuation zone, and traffic was rerouted through the community. The main thoroughfare (Aiken/Augusta highway), a four-lane roadway connecting Aiken, South Carolina, to Augusta, Georgia, was closed for over a week, but traffic was rerouted through the area onto parallel roads or Interstate 20.

4.4.1 Evacuation Zone

Roadblocks were established around the incident zone and a curfew (dusk to dawn) set to stop unauthorized people from entering the zone.

“Access [was] controlled early through traffic control points established quickly and efficiently due to recent training. Locations [were] determined based on major intersections and information received from 911 distress calls within first 15 minutes. Roadblock placement [was] reevaluated within first 30 minutes, and determined to be adequate based on wind direction and HazMat input” as reported in the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office After-Action Report.

4.4.2 Receipt of Train Manifest

The manifest from Norfolk Southern was available to fire and police either in 30 minutes or up to 2 hours from the time of the incident. Interviewees expressed cooperation from the railroad in identifying the chemicals.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014