Thousands are traveling across the United States to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime full solar eclipse. The path of totality, the strip across the US that runs from Oregon to South Carolina, has been flooded with visitors from around the world. Roads have seen massive delays, and gas has begun to get scarce from all the travelers.
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The traffic jams started Wednesday after Highway 26 backed up for over 12 miles and is expected to get worse as Monday nears. Rural towns surrounding Oregan have reported that they’re out of gas due to the many travelers headed to the nearby solar eclipse festivals.
Locals living in these rural areas have seen no gas signs in almost every single gas station; and the ones that do have gas, have extensive lines. Traffic got so bad in Oregan that Peter Murphy, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, had to issue a statement.
“Traffic is moving — it’s not stopped — but it’s taking a long time,” he said in part. Other states’ departments of transportation have issued warnings to drivers not to pull over or stop in the middle of the road when the solar eclipse happens Monday.
Tennesse, one of the most southern points in the path of totality, informed locals in advance, knowing there would be thousands flocking in and through their cities.
“We know we’re going to see a large increase in traffic for the days leading up to and probably the days after, but we’re hearing estimates between 300,000 to over a million that could come to the Middle Tennessee area to view this eclipse, so that’s a lot of people,” a Tennesse spokeswoman told WKRN earlier this week.
While thousands have decided to experience the phenomenon in person, for those that are unable or unwilling to fight the traffic, viewers will be able to watch the event online.
According to the Daily Mail, companies in the US will lose an estimated $694 million in the 20 minutes the eclipse will be viewed.
Monday, August 21st, will mark the first time a full solar eclipse will take place in the US in over 100 years.