Heavy traffic delays expected for solar eclipse
Posted August 8
ATLANTA, GA — In late August, you might want to steer clear of traffic on Interstate 95 through the Southeast. The Georgia Department of Transportation is warning drivers to expect significant delays north of I-20.
On Aug. 21, just after 2:30 p.m., the United States will witness a solar eclipse for the first time in more than 30 years.
Scientists at the Fernbank Science Center in Decatur have been monitoring the historic event.
"The difference between a 97 percent partial eclipse that we'll have in Atlanta, 100 percent in North Georgia is literally night and day," Fernbank scientist Mark Lancaster said.
The path of totality passes through the western edge of North Carolina and cuts across South Carolina to the coast near Charleston.
Authorities are encouraging onlookers to arrive early for the eclipse to help ease the number of vehicles on the roads at one time.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol is encouraging motorists to use designated parking areas and avoid wearing eclipse glasses while driving. Motorists are also encouraged to plan alternate routes, have food and water on hand and expect traffic delays before and after the eclipse.
Lancaster said you can expect to see a reddish colored sky in metro Atlanta lasting only a couple of minutes, and in the mountains there will be near-darkness in the path of the total eclipse.
"The sky won't get black, but it will get a very deep rich blueish-purple color. Enough that you will have four planets up that you will be able to see, brighter starts will be out, birds and crickets will be making some noise," Lancaster said.
In the metro Atlanta area and the Triangle, traffic will most likely be the big story of the day.
"Plan to be off the road. Plan to be somewhere where you can sit still and see that, not on the side of the interstate, certainly not on the side of the interstate," GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale said.