The Clarksville Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office want you to be prepared for traffic challenges that may result from the wave of visitors and the midday darkness created by this rare astronomical occurrence.
The 2017 Great American Eclipse will be the first coast-to-coast eclipse in 98 years and the first in the continental United States since 1978. Lasting more than an hour, the sun will slowly be covered by the moon, engulfing the area in total darkness. Then, the process reverses and the world slowly returns to light.
Clarksville-Montgomery County is so close to the “path of totality” that we will experience 2 minutes and 18 seconds of total darkness.
Since this community offers a unique front-row seat to experience this phenomenon, local tourism officials estimate up to 200,000 visitors will pour into town. Special skywatching events are planned at Beachaven Winery, Liberty Park, Austin Peay State University, Burdoc Farms and many other venues from Clarksville to Christian County .
.More than 200 local law enforcement officers will be out in force Aug. 21 to ensure safety and provide travel assistance. CPD and MCSO offer these tips for motorists to assist with movement along the roadways throughout the community:
• Anticipate heavy traffic and congested roads.
• Plan travel ahead of time, and reach your destination early. If possible, avoid being on the roadways from noon to 3 p.m. during the solar eclipse.
• Be prepared for traffic delays as many visitors may be on the move to “chase the eclipse.” The day will require awareness and patience.
• Follow traffic laws. The arrival of a solar eclipse does not negate the need to follow rules of the road.
• Traffic flow may be constricted, so reduce speeds and allow more stopping distance. Obey traffic signals or the directions of officers.
• Map out your route before you start your trip. Manipulating a GPS, phone, or other directional device while driving is not only illegal, but can potentially cause a crash. Stopping in the road or pulling off on an unauthorized area is not a viable option. Traffic flow must not be impeded.
• Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. Fill your fuel tank before you venture out because there may be long lines at gas pumps; check all fluid levels and your vehicle’s spare tire.
• Have an emergency kit and plan; make sure family members or friends know your schedule and have a plan in case something happens
• Stop or park only in authorized areas. Sidewalks, shoulders of the road, private property, and areas near intersections are not legal stopping or parking areas.
• If you have a non-injury crash, pull off the roadway and wait for officers and have your registrations, license and insurance ready.