Agencies urge caution in eclipse, impose restrictions

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With the first total solar eclipse visible to the continental United States in nearly 40 years happening on Monday, Aug. 21, several states in the path of the total eclipse have imposed restrictions on some truck traffic, and the U.S. DOT has issued warnings and tips for all drivers, including truck operators.

The path of Monday’s solar eclipseThe path of Monday’s solar eclipse

The eclipse will be visible in every state of the contiguous U.S., but at least portions of 14 states will be in the path of the total eclipse, where the moon will fully block out the sun for nearly three minutes in the middle of the day.

According to NASA, the first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon, just after 9 a.m. Pacific. Over the next hour-and-a-half, the eclipse will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

See how the eclipse will look from where you live.

The Federal Highway Administration offers a number of tips for drivers who will be on the road during the event:

  • Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder to view the event
  • Exit the highway to a safe location to view the eclipse
  • Don’t take photographs while driving
  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving
  • Turn your headlights on
  • Watch for pedestrians on smaller roads
  • Prepare for extra congestion the day before, the day of and the day after in states in the path of the eclipse
  • Avoid travel in the area of the main path, if possible

Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado have placed restrictions on oversize/overweight loads in the days around the eclipse.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has stated no over-width loads will be allowed to operate in the state between noon on Friday, Aug. 18 and 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Other over-dimensional loads with permits, including triples, will still be allowed. ODOT also says some scale locations may not be available for use by truckers during the event.

The Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles is also restricting large loads, implementing a “holiday protocol. Starting Sunday, Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. and ending at dawn Aug. 22, loads exceeding 10-feet wide, 100-feet long or 14-feet, 6-inches tall may not travel on interstate or state highways south of Lewiston.

In Wyoming, the Wyoming Highway Patrol will not issue any oversize/overweight permits on Aug. 20-22 to help with traffic flow.

The Nebraska DOT is not allowing oversize loads to travel in the state from sundown on Friday, Aug. 18 until sunrise on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Colorado transportation officials are also restricting all oversize/overweight travel north of Highway 50 from Kansas to Utah, beginning at sundown on Thursday, Aug. 17, and continuing through sunrise on Wednesday, Aug. 23.