MoDOT prepares for heavy traffic during total solar eclipse

Posted at 4:50 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 16:55:43-04

The total solar eclipse is just days away, and hundreds of thousands of people are making their way to the greater metro area to see it.

And with large crowds, expect busy roadways.

“I'll be preparing to leave home a lot earlier,” Grandview resident Gregory Crusoe said. “Maybe an hour earlier to make sure I don't get stuck on the roadway with the big solar eclipse coming up.”

Since last year, MoDOT has been teaming up with other agencies to prepare for Monday.

“Our local partners such as Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kansas City, Missouri Police, and through our Mid-America Regional Council, we had worked with our local cities and counties,” KC Scout Manager Randy Johnson said. “And really the main thing is, make sure everybody knows what's going on and our resources can be shared and we have a consistent message across the region.”

Johnson said roughly 1.2 million people will be making their way to Missouri to see the eclipse.

“We want to make sure everyone on the roadways is as safe as possible. And keep traffic moving,” he said.

And to keep the traffic flowing, several construction projects will be temporarily put on hold and more lanes will open up starting Friday through Tuesday.

“For construction sites, if it's a construction where we can open up all lanes, we're going to do that by Friday,” he said. “If it's a major project where a lane or a bridge is missing and we just can't, we will have limited construction. So you may see some trucks around the barrier, but you will not see them in and out.”

Johnson said there will be 44 maintenance trucks added on the roadways on Monday that will serve as ER vehicles, to help assist in case of an emergency

“And those trucks will have car jacks, tow straps, maybe some water, some food, in case something happens,” he said. “But we're going to have lots of vehicles roaming and helping people who may need the help that day.”

Johnson said if you are driving during the solar eclipse on Monday, there are some tips that could make it easier.

“Do not stop on the highways. I know you're excited to see it. Go to an event. Go to a safe spot to view this extraordinary thing that's happening in Missouri,” he said. “ If you do find yourself driving during the eclipse, it will get dark, make sure your headlights are on. And don't be staring up at the sun, pay attention, look straight ahead, buckle up, phones down."