DeWine Signs Order on Agency Roles Before, During, After Eclipse

COLUMBUS, Ohio (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – With the total eclipse a little over three weeks away, Governor Mike DeWine has signed an executive order.

The order assures that the six agencies involved with the event make certain that the state is well-prepared.

That includes the Ohio EMA, which suggests those traveling to see the eclipse have a full tank of gas or have the EV fully charged.

Also ODOT, which is treating the sky show like a holiday travel weekend, taking down orange barrels where possible.

They also suggest having paper road maps in case cell service gets spotty in traffic jams.

Here are the six departments and their roles with the eclipse:

OHIO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

The Ohio EMA urges those traveling to see the eclipse to make a preparedness kit for their vehicle and include items like snacks, drinks, cash, cell phone chargers, and blankets.

Motorists should top off their fuel tank or fully charge their electric vehicle before heading out.

It’s also a good idea to have a family communication plan to ensure you know how to reconnect in case you get separated from friends or family at a large gathering. Make sure children have contact information for parents or guardians with them.

Finally, be aware of weather conditions and where you might seek shelter in the event of severe weather. Be sure to activate emergency alerting features on your mobile devices.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency’s Solar Eclipse site includes important safety information and other frequently asked questions about viewing the eclipse in Ohio.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

The Ohio Department of Transportation will be fully staffed before, during, and after the eclipse to assist with traffic control. The agency is treating the solar eclipse like a major travel holiday by restricting roadwork and reducing the size of active work zones as much as possible to accommodate the extra traffic. There are locations where this isn’t possible. They include:

I-75 through Cincinnati and Dayton
I-70/71 in downtown Columbus
I-70 in Zanesville
I-475 on the southwest side of Toledo
Several projects in the Akron metro area on I-76, I-77, and SR 8.
Roads are expected to be congested before the eclipse as travelers begin to arrive at their viewing locations. However, the worst traffic congestion is expected to happen after the event is over as everyone tries to head home at the same time.

Travelers can find traffic alerts, construction zone locations, and more than 1,100 live traffic cameras on OHGO.com and the OHGO app.

Due to the potential for cell phone service interruptions, travelers are urged to have a paper map with them to assist with navigation.

OHIO TURNPIKE AND INFRASTRUCTURE COMMISSION

The Ohio Turnpike is a 241-mile toll road designated as I-90, I-80 and I-76 that runs east and west along the state’s northern corridor.

Lane closures, typically set for construction work zones and other maintenance projects, will not be permitted prior, during, or after the eclipse. Currently, a work zone is set for the Tinkers Creek bridge project both eastbound and westbound on the Ohio Turnpike at milepost 185.6 in Summit County. Two of the three lanes will be open in both directions.

Like planning for peak travel days throughout the year, the Ohio Turnpike will be staffed by personnel providing roadside assistance to stranded motorists 24-hours a day. The Ohio Turnpike’s toll booths, 14 service plazas, and eight maintenance buildings will be staffed in anticipation of a high-volume traffic event.

Portable message signs will be placed at various locations along the toll road to keep travelers informed about traffic incidents, driving conditions, or to provide other roadway safety messages.

Participating restaurants at the Ohio Turnpike’s service plazas will extend their hours of operation and increase staffing and supplies. Gasoline and diesel fuel deliveries will also be increased.

For more information, visit www.ohioturnpike.org.

OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL

Troopers will be highly visible and ready to assist motorists in the days leading up to, during, and following the eclipse.

Stopping on the side of roads or exit ramps for non-emergencies is strictly prohibited. Do not attempt to view or capture the eclipse while driving.

Consider factors like traffic and travel time. Establishing a well-thought-out plan that includes departure times and routes can significantly reduce stress and enhance your overall experience.

Motorists can dial #677 in Ohio to report unsafe drivers or stranded motorists.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Ohio state parks and wildlife areas will provide a great backdrop for the astronomical event. A list of Ohio state parks and wildlife areas in or near the path of totality can be found on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ website, along with information about camping sites, travel tips, and eclipse-related activities happening around Ohio.

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT

Ohio is ready to welcome visitors to experience all Ohio has to offer before, during, and after the eclipse. Visitors are encouraged to extend their stays and take advantage of the many events and activities happening across the state. With 55 Ohio counties in the path of totality, residents and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and explore. Viewing locations, eclipse celebrations, and other events are all featured on the Ohio, The Heart of it All’s eclipse landing page, complete with an interactive map for users to explore eclipse-related attractions.