Solar eclipse 2024: How the phenomenon is affecting travel

Monday’s solar eclipse is expected to delay traffic, prompting travel warnings from local municipalities.

On April 8th, people will see a total solar eclipse along the path of Mexico, Texas, through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It is expected to finish at Niagara Falls on the border between the United States and Canada. It will begin at about 1:20 p.m. Eastern and finish at about 4:40 p.m.

Affected governments reminded locals to fill up their gas tanks and pack water, food, and medications. The Virginia Department of Transportation reminded drivers on the road between those hours to avoid eclipse glasses while driving. These glasses allow viewers to look directly at the phenomenon without damaging their eyes.

“Eclipse glasses are darker than normal sunglasses and should only be worn when viewing the eclipse from a safe location and not while driving,” the department explained.

New York’s Department of Transportation reminded drivers to avoid pulling over on the side of any road to view the eclipse. The agency said it will position NYSDOT HELP operators throughout the state to ensure traffic safety between those hours.

“Heavy traffic is expected throughout the eclipse & especially for Monday afternoon & evening as everyone makes their way home,” it posted on X. “Drive Safe NY!”

Meanwhile, Canada will be shutting down entire roads in the Niagara Falls area for the first eclipse visible from its territory since 1979. Niagara Parkway will be closed to vehicular traffic from Queen Street to Fraser Hill, from 12 p.m. Eastern through midnight. Clifton Hill will also be closed at the same time frame from Victoria Avenue to Falls Avenue. Niagara Boulevard will close in both directions from Central Avenue to Dominion Road and from Dominion to Albert Street. This road is already closed from Netherby Road to Townline Road due to construction work.

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One million tourists are anticipated to flood into the area on both sides of the border. Normally, the town sees 14 million guests over the course of a year. Some 98% of the 14,000+ hotel rooms in the area are reserved.

The next time Canada will see a total solar eclipse will be 20 years from now in 2044. The next time a solar eclipse will be visible from the U.S. will be on Aug. 23, 2044.

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