Solar eclipse expected to create traffic congestion on Indiana highways

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE)  The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) expects the upcoming solar eclipse to cause traffic congestion in the southern part of the state as motorists flock to get a better view of the event.

INDOT estimates that approximately 200 million people live within a days drive of the total eclipse path so they’ll drive to get a better view.

I-69, U.S. 41, and U.S. 231 are expected to experience increased traffic in southbound lanes before the event as caravans of motorists head for Western Kentucky where the moon’s full eclipse of the sun can be viewed within a 70-mile-wide swath encompassing Hopkinsville, Paducah, and Madison, Kentucky. After the event, transportation planners anticipate a “mass exodus” from total eclipse regions. Expect heavier than normal northbound traffic on these routes.

I-65 will also see increased traffic going to and returning from—total eclipse vantage points that begin at Bowling Green, Kentucky and extend beyond Nashville, Tennessee.

If skies are clear, the August 21 solar eclipse promises to be an unforgettable celestial phenomenon, the first that has been visible to all 48 contiguous states in several hundred years.

Beyond the total eclipse’s 70-mile-wide path—which arcs across 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina—a partial eclipse will provide a sky show that becomes more and more pronounced the closer spectators get to the sun’s full black-out. The partial eclipse can be well seen throughout Indiana, but traveling south improves the view. For example, Evansville is situated to experience a partial eclipse of 99 percent and Jeffersonville will see 96 percent. This mid-day event waxes and wanes over a period of several hours.

Anyone planning to drive to get a better view should consider the following:

  • Make plans now for overnight accommodations—overnight camping is prohibited at rest areas.
  • If planning to view the eclipse, wear safety glasses. They are available on-line or from many popular retailers costing from $2 to $70; some are being given away by organizations. DO NOT look at the partial eclipse without proper filtration.
  • Visit the NASA website at http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov.

INDOT also advises the following Do’s & Don’ts:

  • Don’t take pictures while driving.
  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder.
  • Do turn your headlights on during the eclipse event.

Motorists can learn about highway work zones and other traffic alerts at indot.carsprogram.org, 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or 511 from a mobile phone.