State preparing for ‘significant gridlock’ on highways in path of totality 

Highway Gridlock on April 8

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

New York State has been working with the counties in the path of totality for the better part of two years to ensure it has contingency plans for any public safety issues that may arise.

The Rochester-region is expected to see totality right around 3:20 p.m. on April 8. By the time it’s over, we’ll be right up against rush hour.

“This is a recipe for severe congestion, as some of you may remember in 2017 in other parts of the US, there was very severe traffic, where people were in their cars for up to 10 hours, we do not want that to happen in New York, that is why we have been planning,” says Kathryn Garcia, the Director of NYS Operations. 

If you’re out and about on April 8, “We absolutely expect significant gridlock, you will be in traffic for several hours, it is still an absolutely worthwhile thing to do but we want to make sure that you stay patient,” explains Jackie Bray, the Commissioner, NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “Do not assume, that you’re going to leave two hours before the eclipse and get home two hours after the eclipse, plan to come early and stay late.”

The State Department of Transportation and the NYS Thruway Authority will be keeping a close eye on all major highways. They have also asked all vendors along the Thruway to be sure they are fully stocked with gas, food and any other essentials that travelers might need.

“All of the fueling locations along the Thruway and that are state-controlled will be topped off prior to April 8, we have also encouraged all private locations to top off their supplies prior to April 8,” Bray says.

State and local police will not allow anyone to just pull off to the side of a highway during totality to experience it. If you’re not where you’re going by the time 3:20 p.m. rolls around, you’re going to have to keep moving. 

“The path goes through Jamestown, Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and onto Plattsburgh. If you already live there, you’re one of the lucky ones. However if you are planning on traveling to one of these locations, we cannot stress enough, leave lots of time,” suggests Garcia.