With less than three weeks to go before the big event, Kentucky officials are scrambling to complete preparations for the impact of the total solar eclipse on August 21.
Kentucky officials are getting ready for up to half a million visitors to the areas that will have the best views of the eclipse. Hopkinsville is ground zero. A release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says visitors from 16 countries and 34 states are already on the guest list.
Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says they want to take care of the visitors in the best way possible so people will want to return to western Kentucky when it’s not so busy. To do that, they’re urging people to plan ahead for traffic and weather issues that might hamper visitors’experiences.
Todd says Interstates 24 and 69 will be especially busy in the days surrounding the August 21st event. He says people should bring picnic and snack items in case lines are long at restaurants. Visitors should also make sure they bring enough water, sunscreen and insect repellant to be outdoors in hot August temperatures, and not count on getting those items when they arrive.
A release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet offers the following tips for eclipse visitors:
- Be prepared for hot weather. Temps in mid-to-late August can be in the 90s.
- Bring plenty of water – about a gallon a day per person.
- Bring sun screen, insect repellant, and first aid items.
- Bring picnic or snack items. Restaurants and grocery stores may experience long lines.
- Pick a viewing location with rest rooms and easy access to restaurants or other source of food.
- Do not stop along highways. Vehicles on the shoulder hinder traffic flow and create a traffic hazard.
- Be prepared for long lines at fuel pumps. Access to fuel may be limited.
- Be aware that heavy traffic congestion may interfere with delivery of food, fuel and other supplies along the total eclipse corridor.
- Be careful – while local agencies are gearing up for large crowds, heavy traffic may hinder the ability of emergency agencies to respond.
- Be patient – you are likely to encounter slow-moving traffic at some point during your visit.
- Bring a GPS based navigation unit as cell phone navigation may be sketchy due to heavy cell and data traffic.
- If your group is traveling in several vehicles consider communicating with two-way radios as cell service near the total eclipse corridor may be limited due to heavy demand.
Traffic through Kentucky along Interstate 24 and Interstate 69, as well as along the Pennyrile Parkway and the U.S. 68/KY 80 corridor in the western half of the state, is expected to be especially congested for several days – before, during and after the eclipse.