With just a few days to go until the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, the Missouri Department of Transportation is offering a variety of tools to help travelers be prepared for the increase in traffic that will come with this unique event.
To help drivers be more informed, MoDOT’s Central District has created a website offering solar eclipse information specific to central Missouri. The site, located at www.modot.org/central, contains information about ongoing construction projects, some helpful videos, travel tips and links to other websites offering eclipse information.
“The website is a one-stop shop for information about what’s going on in mid-Missouri with regard to the eclipse,” said Central District Engineer David Silvester. “We encourage folks to check it out.”
In addition to the website, Silvester said MoDOT offers other tools to help motorists navigate Missouri highways before, during and after the eclipse, including:
· MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map – The map, located at www.modot.org, shows current traffic conditions, including incidents and real-time traffic flow. It is also available as an app on smart phones.
· Traffic cameras - Traffic cameras on the Interstate 70 and 44 corridors, which are available on the Traveler Information Map, provide a real-time view of traffic flow on those highways.
· MoDOT’s toll-free number – The number, 888-275-6636, is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Callers can speak with a customer service representative to get the latest traffic information.
Traffic in central Missouri is expected to be heavier on interstates and major routes from Friday through Tuesday. Hot spots for traffic congestion are expected to be in and around the cities of Jefferson City, Fulton, Columbia and Hermann, as these cities are considered to be prime viewing locations to see the total eclipse.
For the most part, MoDOT will suspend construction and maintenance work on major routes in central Missouri on Aug. 21 with the exception of the following notable closures:
· The U.S. Route 54 bridge over Middle River near Fulton – one westbound lane is closed at the bridge.
· The Route 100 bridge over Berger creek near Hermann – completely closed.
· The Route O bridge over Crow’s Fork near Fulton – completely closed.
Travelers should also note that the Jefferson City Police Department will close the pedestrian walkway on the Missouri River Bridge in Jefferson City from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. for safety and security reasons.
MoDOT will have staff available to help with traffic control and respond to emergency maintenance situations. Employees will monitor traffic on Interstates 70 and 44 and other major routes, with particular emphasis on key interchanges, such as the Columbia I-70/U.S. Route 63 Connector, the I-70/U.S. Route 54 interchange in Kingdom City, and the U.S. Route 50/63 (Whitton Expressway)/downtown area in Jefferson City.
Extreme congestion is expected once the eclipse passes in the afternoon. Viewers of the eclipse should leave early for their viewing location, stay put during the eclipse and then leave later to avoid the heavy congestion immediately after the total eclipse.
For more information, visit www.modot.org/central.