SPRINGFIELD – Although the sun might go missing for a little while, the Illinois Department of Transportation promises to stay active leading up to the solar eclipse to make sure traffic keeps moving and the traveling public remains safe. Carbondale is in the path of the total eclipse, making it one of the prime viewing areas in the country for the Aug. 21 event. The rest of the state will experience a partial eclipse of approximately 90 percent.
“The Illinois Department of Transportation is proud to be one of several state agencies teaming up to make sure that Illinois is prepared to host this historic occasion,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. “We also need the public to do its part. By following a few basic guidelines, the eclipse can be safe and exciting for everyone.”
Up to 200,000 people are expected to visit southern Illinois to view the eclipse and take part in local festivities in the days leading up to it.
Unlike some states, Illinois is placing no special restrictions on truck activities due to the eclipse. To help with traffic flow, lane closures on major IDOT projects in the southern part of the state will be temporarily lifted during the weekend before the eclipse and the following day. Throughout the state, digital message boards will be used to communicate traffic and safety messages.
The department also is coordinating with Illinois State Police and local law enforcement to ensure that traffic control points are appropriately staffed.
If you are traveling during the eclipse, here are some commonsense tips:
- Plan ahead: Do not expect to park and view the eclipse from the side of the road.
- Anticipate increased pedestrian and bike traffic near popular viewing areas.
- Do not wear special viewing glasses or take photos of the eclipse while driving.
- On the day of the eclipse, drive with your headlights on.
- Use the Getting Around Illinois website to get the latest on traffic conditions.