The Tennessee Department of Transportation anticipates heavier than normal traffic on interstates and state routes during the total solar eclipse on Monday.
"Just like if it was a Tennessee football weekend, just like if it was the Bonaroo music festival, the Bristol races - we're preparing for increased traffic on the Tennessee road ways,” explained spokesman Mark Nagi.
That's the kind of traffic TDOT wants drivers to be ready for when we get our glimpse at the total solar eclipse.
TDOT is putting all roadway projects on hold to make the trip a little easier on the thousands expected to travel for the big day.
Closer to the path of totality in Monroe County residents are getting alerts warning them to treat the day like a big snowfall.
"I think that's great advice because when we get winter weather, we tell people if they don't have to be on the road ways, don't be on the roadways. I think that's going to apply here,” said Nagi.
This eclipse will span 14 states on a trip across the country. According to The Great American Eclipse website, Tennessee has the second highest population within driving distance of the path of totality. That makes the volunteer state a prime destination.
Oregon is ranked number 4 for eclipse glasses and drivers are already seeing backups as they make their way to camp. According to Nagi, this is an example of why drivers need to be ready.
"You’ve got to have a full tank of gas because you may have some delays that you do not anticipate on a normal basis,” said Nagi.
TDOT and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are warning drivers not to stop or slow down on the interstate.
It's not only illegal, it's also dangerous.
"Don’t say, 'oh where there's the eclipse,' and start going at a very slow speed that's the way that accidents can happen,” said Nagi.
To assist drivers, TDOT will lift construction related lane closures and traffic restrictions from noon on Friday, Aug. 18 through noon on Tuesday, Aug. 22.
The exception being in Upper East, where the previously approved traffic patterns surrounding the NASCAR races this weekend at Bristol will be followed.
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