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NCDOT and Highway Patrol work together to plan for eclipse

Millions are expected to travel across the Carolinas later this month for the solar eclipse. The North Carolina Highway Patrol and North Carolina Department of Transportation are working together to help ease the flow of traffic. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Millions are expected to travel across the Carolinas later this month for the solar eclipse. The North Carolina Highway Patrol and North Carolina Department of Transportation are working together to help ease the flow of traffic.

The NCDOT is urging drivers to arrive early, stay put and leave late. It will use 42 message boards to display such messages as "solar eclipse no parking," "On the highway solar eclipse don't take a picture while you're driving" and "Don't wear your eclipse glasses while driving."

"One of our biggest worries, because we know a lot of people are coming in, is that everybody is going to leave at once," DOT public relations officer David Uchiyama said.

To widen the roadways, the NCDOT will suspend construction across 17 counties on eclipse day. Construction crews will have alternate jobs on that day -- assisting with traffic flow.

"A lot of the trucks will carry gas cans, water and chains just as you respond to emergencies and accident as they happen," Uchiyama said.

The Highway Patrol is also adding additional reinforcements from the eastern counties.

"Our goal is to try to spread our people out and have them covering as many areas as we can. If an incident does occurs, then it doesn't take time for the trooper to get into the area and deal with it," said District 1st Sgt. Matt Wike, who covers Haywood and Jackson counties, .

Highway Patrol is urging drivers to plan alternate routes, get gas ahead of time and bring plenty of water and snacks in case they get stuck in traffic.

"Our goal with the Highway Patrol is to focus on what we do and to make sure the highways are safe and traffic is moving. And so we have tried to partner with the DOT and get the message out on what to expect," Wike said. "If you leave early and well in advance, then there is no need to rush or get in a hurry, and that's when people get themselves in a bind."



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