COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — Local and state agencies will hold a full-scale hurricane evacuation exercise on Thursday to test South Carolina’s ability to enact lane reversals for all three of the state’s major coastal regions.

No traffic lanes will be reversed during the annual drill, which is expected to take place between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. However, law enforcement and transportation personnel and equipment will be present along interstates and highways during the exercise.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety and the state Department of Transportation will work with state emergency management officials to test lane-reversal plans for Interstate 26, Highway 21, Highway 278, Highway 501 and Highway 544 in the event a coastal evacuation order is issued at any point during hurricane season.

“These annual exercises are critically important as it helps our agency coordinate a hurricane evacuation response with our state and local partners,” said Department of Public Safety Director Robert G. Woods IV said. “During the exercise, our course of action and communication are tested in such a way that allows us to assess our response and make critical adjustments. A successful exercise should provide confidence to the public that we are prepared to safely and quickly move residents and visitors in the event of an evacuation order.”

Department of Public Safety officials stress that the exercise will not interfere with traffic and that intersections will not be blocked. But drivers are reminded that law enforcement officers and state personnel will be located on the shoulder of the highway and at exits.

“Preparing for a hurricane evacuation is not just an exercise; it is a crucial commitment to safeguarding lives and communities,” Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson said. “By practicing and refining our agencies’ response plans, we ensure when a storm arrives, we are as ready as possible to implement those plans swiftly and effectively as one team.”

The drill comes just days after Gov. Henry McMaster participated in a hurricane fly-over exercise in which he visited emergency management leaders along the state’s coast to talk about local and state preparations for hurricane season, which began on June 1.