In preparation for the upcoming solar eclipse in the U.S., several states are encouraging adjusted freight schedules to alleviate and avoid the expected additional highway traffic from astronomy aficionados, Transport Topics
The August 21 event marks the first coast-to-coast eclipse for the U.S. in nearly 100 years. This eclipse’s 70-mile-wide path of totality stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, attracting visitors to many viewing points along the path. Approximately 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of totality, according to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. A partial eclipse will be visible from all other locations within the continental United States.
In light of this, officials at some state departments are requiring and others are requesting that trucking companies cut back on heavy or extra-wide loads or limit deliveries altogether in the days before and after the event.
“Overwidth vehicles take up more than a standard lane and require escort vehicles, which will block passing traffic at narrow locations such as bridges,” said David House, a representative of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Transportation Division, in the article. “Because we expect gridlock, we don’t want to add bottlenecks that slow traffic further.” Oregon is prohibiting extra-wide loads August 18-22.
However, some companies, including Nashville-based carrier TCW, which is located within the path of totality, are not planning to change their schedules and instead plan to deal with the added congestion. The American Transportation Research Institute reports that congestion on U.S. highways produces financial setbacks for transportation companies. In 2015, congestions cost the industry $63.4 billion.