(KFVS) - As thousands flock to witness the first total solar eclipse in nearly a century, traffic conditions may be affected by the high influx of visitors and travelers making their way in and out of the Heartland.
As of 10 a.m., southbound traffic along I-57 in Franklin County and Williamson County just north of Benton is in gridlock. Drivers are urged to use caution in this area. Traffic along Hwy 148 and Route 37 in this area is also becoming quite congested. Christopher Police said Highway 148 and 14 are backed up as well, they are asking drivers to find another route if possible.
Traffic along Highway 51 from De Soto coming into Carbondale is backed up due to a high volume of drivers in the area.
As of 3:30 p.m. traffic along I-57 North Bound from the I-24 interchange all the way up past I-64 and Mount Vernon is stop and go. There are also heavy pockets all the way up to M.P. 116 - Salem. Illinois Route 13 is heavy in both directions between Marion and Carbondale. U.S. 51, Illinois Routes 127, 148, and 37 all have heavy pockets between Routes 13 and Interstate 64.
Click here for a map of current road conditions in Illinois.
Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said they continue to have major traffic backups across the region.
The Pennyrile Parkway northbound continues to be backed up from the I-69/WK Parkway Interchange to about the 25 mile marker in Hopkins County, a distance of about 10 miles. At times traffic has been at a standstill along this section. Emergency response personnel are traveling this section in ATVs handing out bottled water and snacks.
Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said I-24 Westbound Welcome Center at the KY-TN State Line has reopened after people exited the area.
Southbound traffic continues to be backed up at the US 41 Twin Bridges between Evansville, IN, and Henderson, KY. During the last hour the backup extended about 3 miles from the bridge work zone creating about a one hour delay at the Ohio River crossing. This section of US 41 connects I-69 in Indiana with I-69 in Kentucky.
There are also reports of substantial slowdowns along I-69 in the Princeton area near the KY 91 Interchange. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recommend those who are not already on the road to stay put for awhile to allow some of this traffic to clear.
Enterprising motorists attempting to get around this backup have self-detoured via KY 189 into Greenville. This has created about a 3-mile backup for northbound KY 189 traffic at the Greenville Byass.
We continue to have heavy northbound traffic on the US 41 Twin Bridges at Henderson. At times traffic has been backed up to the KY 425 Henderson Bypass.
No traffic issues are reported in the Paducah area, or the Kentucky Lake-Lake Barkley area.
The Kentucky and Tennessee welcome centers along I-65 at the KY-TN State Line remain closed as they are at capacity during the eclipse.
Click here for a map of current road conditions in Kentucky.
MoDOT has closed the entrances to the St. Clair rest area on I-44 in Franklin County due to reaching full capacity.
Click here for a map of current road conditions in Missouri.
Other safety tips:
- Large crowds and heavy traffic may hinder the ability of emergency agencies to respond.
- Do not stop along highways. Vehicles on the shoulder hinder traffic flow and create a traffic hazard.
- Be prepared for lines at fuel pumps. Access to fuel may be limited.
- Be prepared for cell phone and data access issues due to heavy demand.
- Groups traveling in multiple vehicles should consider using two-way radios in case cell service is limited.
- Be prepared for hot weather. Temps will be in the upper 90s.
- Bring picnic or snack items. Restaurants and grocery stores may experience long lines and heavy traffic may interfere with food delivery, etc.