Many will view the solar eclipse today, but the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) wants drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
NDOT Deputy Director Moe Jamshidi says there will be a lot of travelers going towards the path of the eclipse.
He says maintenance crews will postpone scheduled work for the day near the viewing areas.
“We know traffic is going to be a big issue for us with heavy congestion on many of the highways,” Jamhshidi says, “so we’re working with our contractors to minimize the impact of construction on the traffic flow.”
Jamshidi wants those on the road to plan ahead, give themselves enough time, and be patient.
He says using the state’s traffic app – Nebraska 511 – should help drivers avoid congested areas.
Law enforcement also wants drivers to use extra caution today with the added traffic.
The path of the solar eclipse stretches nearly 470 miles through Nebraska, which includes some remote places, so officials worry people may just pull off the road to see the eclipse.
Nebraska State Patrol Maj. Russ Stanczyk says that is especially dangerous on Interstate 80.
“People pulling over, people merging back on the interstate – we want to make sure we have a lot of resources devoted to that area to ensure safety for our citizens and those passing through the state,” Stanczyk says.
He says more troopers will be on the interstate to keep traffic moving. They also will be available to help local police and sheriff’s departments.
In addition, the state is prohibiting oversized, slow-moving vehicles today.
The State Emergency Operation Center will be staffed by representatives from many state agencies today. That will allow them to provide any necessary support to local communities.