Guide to Texas Total Eclipse Travel

Great American Eclipse 2017 | Image by bdabney/Pixabay

If you think everyday traffic in Texas is bad, you may want to consider staying off the roads for the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Experts are forecasting a significant increase in traffic as Texans and visitors alike hit the roads to catch a glimpse of the rare event.

This once-in-a-lifetime event will be the first total solar eclipse over Dallas since 1878 and the last total eclipse viewable from the United States until 2044, with Dallas directly in the path of totality, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

As buzz over the phenomenon grows, Dallas is gearing up to host an array of local events to help celebrate the rare event.

Despite the excitement, concerns have been raised over the anticipated volume of Lone Star State visitors.

“With 480 miles of Texas within the ‘path of totality,’ there could be heavy traffic before, during, and after the event,” said the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in a press release.

Multiple state agencies are working together to prepare for emergency responses and increased traffic, such as getting equipment and traffic signs together to help direct traffic safely during the day. Travelers can expect to start seeing highway signs that read, “NO STOPPING ON HIGHWAY TO VIEW ECLIPSE,” and “NO PARKING ON SHOULDER, KEEP MOVING,” popping up around the state.

State officials are asking the public to do their part to plan for the event in advance. TxDOT outlined steps viewers can take to help contribute to a smooth experience.

  • Expect heavier-than-usual traffic in the days before, during, and after the eclipse, especially on major corridors near the path of totality.
  • Leave early and plan your route. Your drive may take longer than predicted. DriveTexas.org has up-to-date traffic conditions.
  • Find a safe, designated space to park before the eclipse. Do not stop in the middle of the road or on a road shoulder.
  • “Drive friendly, the Texas way.” Bring a calm and courteous attitude on the road with you.
  • Enjoy the beautiful wildflowers that will be in bloom, but don’t drive over or trample them so they can grow back next year.
  • Don’t let litter eclipse Texas. Dispose of all waste in a proper trash can.

TxDOT Highway Emergency Response Operator team lead Martin Lazo and senior operator Lettie Casares say they have been part of a statewide operation that TxDOT has been planning for two years to ensure traffic flows as smoothly and safely as possible.

They encourage everyone who is watching the eclipse to arrive at their viewing spot early to avoid getting stuck in gridlock. In addition, they ask for patience and space if an emergency response vehicle does block traffic to help someone in need.

Totality from the “Great American Eclipse” will last between 1-5 minutes, depending on the location. Totality will be visible in Dallas and Fort Worth starting at 1:40 p.m., according to TxDOT.

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