Nebraska set for prime viewing of upcoming solar eclipse

Plan now to get best viewing, avoid traffic congestion

    In less than two weeks, citizens and travelers throughout a large portion of Nebraska will have the chance to see a rare celestial event—a total solar eclipse.
     On Aug. 21, the moon will block out the sun’s light, causing a total solar eclipse across approximately 468.4 miles of Nebraska from the border with Wyoming to Lincoln, Beatrice and Falls City.  
    An influx of out-of-state visitors is also expected to come to Nebraska to witness the event.
     Nebraskans should make plans now to determine where they will view the eclipse, where they will stay and how best to avoid the extra traffic congestion.
     “As Nebraska is a prime viewing location, we all anticipate large crowds, which may cause heavy traffic on Nebraska interstates and highways the day of the solar eclipse.  As many local communities have planned weekend events, large crowds may be possible over the weekend leading up to the actual day of the eclipse,” said Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis.  
    “If you are interested in seeing the eclipse, we recommend planning well in advance so you can avoid the anticipated traffic,” he said.
     Nebraska will be one of 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina to experience the path of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. Approximately 200 million people—a little less than two-thirds of the nation’s population—will be within a day’s drive of the path of the eclipse.
     The Department of Transportation offers these tips for safe driving on the day of the solar eclipse:
    Don’t stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder during the event.
    Exit the highway to a safe location to view and/or photograph the eclipse.
    Don’t take photographs while driving.
    Don’t try to wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle.
    Turn your headlights on—do not rely on your automatic headlights when the eclipse blocks out the sun.
    Watch out for pedestrians along smaller roads. People may be randomly parking and walking alongside the roadside in the hours around the eclipse to get the best view.
    Prepare for extra congestion, especially on the interstates in the eclipse’s path, on the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
    Check traffic conditions on www.511.nebraska.gov or through the Nebraska 511 app available for download for Android and Apple devices.
    For more information on travel in Nebraska and optimal viewing locations, visit http://neclipse17.com

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