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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With all the excitement surrounding the eclipse next month, there are also plenty of concerns.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is especially worried about what could happen on the roads that day.
Parts of Middle Tennessee are within the path of totality, which means thousands of people will flock to the region on Aug. 21.
We spoke with someone from TDOT who said the department’s biggest concern is drivers could stop in the middle of the road to watch the eclipse.
“Well, we know we’re going to see a large increase in traffic for the days leading up to and probably the days after, so we’re kind of looking at it as a Bonnaroo or CMA festival type,” spokeswoman BJ Doughty said.
“But we’re hearing estimates between 300,000 to over a million that could come to the Middle Tennessee area to view this eclipse, so that’s a lot of people,” she added.
Doughty said it’s dangerous for people to try and stop in the road or even pull to the shoulders.
“We need to keep the shoulders clear for emergency personnel should we have some sort of major traffic incident, so we’re trying to get the word out early,” she told News 2.
The department will start running messages on the overboard signs a week in advance of the eclipse. Messages will also run the day it happens telling people not to stop on the highway or its shoulders.
TDOT says the biggest thing you can do is have a plan for that day. Know where you’re going to watch the eclipse, and make sure you’re there with plenty of time to spare.
While the eclipse begins at 11 a.m., it will reach totality around 1:28 p.m., making the sky go dark for upwards of 3 minutes, depending on where you live. When will it reach your house and how long will it last? Find the answer here.
So how much traffic is Middle Tennessee expected to get? And what about southern Kentucky? Analysts have that all figured out. Click here to read more.