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Cornelius News

Are we in path of carmageddon?

 

Aug. 18. While solar panel sales people will have a really tough time for about two and a half minutes on Monday, it may be a lot worse for motorists. The number of travelers headed to South Carolina is estimated at 2.1 million, with plenty coming through North Carolina on I-77 and other highways.

Traffic will be likely be heaviest after the eclipse, much like after a concert. Around 200 million Americans are within a day’s drive of the swath of totality that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina.

Numerous events and festivals are planned in western North Carolina, with Jackson County alone preparing for 18,000 to 20,000 visitors.

The big thing: Don’t wear your eclipse viewing glasses while driving. The width of the path of totality is 70 miles. South Carolina via I-77 is a direct shot from states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

NCDOT has put up 42 message boards that will be placed at strategic locations across seven counties with eclipse-related messages. Three new closed-circuit TV cameras have been installed and will be monitored as well.

For those headed into the path of totality, the NCDOT says signs may have more up-to-date information than cell phone or GPS. “NCDOT traffic experts, highway patrol officers and EMS officials will have accurate, real-time information and will be in the best position to direct traffic on the big day,” they said. 

NCDOT will suspend road work and lane closures on primary routes in the 17 westernmost counties between Friday evening and Tuesday afternoon. Four IMAP trucks will be ready to provide assistance on Interstates 26 and 40, as well as in the Nantahala Gorge and near Cowee Gap. With maintenance work suspended for the day, employees will be supplied with basic emergency tools, gas cans and towing chains and reassigned to help motorists in distress.

Visit nc.gov/eclipse2017 for more information about the total solar eclipse in North Carolina.

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