News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

KYTC officials: expect traffic, plan ahead for Monday’s solar eclipse

A radiant “diamond” of sunlight is seen in the moments after totality during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.
Rami Daud
A radiant “diamond” of sunlight is seen in the moments after totality during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.

Ahead of Monday’s total solar eclipse, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials want residents and tourists to be prepared for the likelihood of increased traffic and the potential risks of driving during the astronomical event.

State officials are anticipating over 150,000 people will visit western Kentucky to witness the total eclipse. They also expect over 1 million people to travel through the Commonwealth on their way to other viewing destinations in states like Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

The path of totality will pass through 12 counties in western Kentucky: Fulton, Carlisle, Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Crittendent, Union and Henderson. It will also clip small portions of Graves, Webster and Daviess counties. The rest of the Commonwealth will be able to see a partial eclipse.

Officials are advising people to watch for increased traffic in western Kentucky before and after the eclipse, especially on interstates and connected roads, major interchanges and at Ohio River crossings. Totality will begin in Kentucky around 2 p.m. CT.


Kyle Poat, Chief District Engineer for KYTC’s District 1, which oversees far western Kentucky, said eclipse watchers should plan to leave early for their viewing destination, and be prepared to stay late to help minimize traffic delays.

“If you plan to attend a viewing area, be aware that there will be several hundreds or thousands of other folks that could be doing that same thing,” Poat said.

Keith Todd, public information officer for KYTC District 1, said the state dealt with similar traffic issues during the last total solar eclipse in the Commonwealth in 2017.

“A lot of people got to a particular place, they were staying put. But immediately after the totality ended, we went from empty highways to gridlock within about 15 minutes or so,” he said.

After the eclipse’s totality phase ends, Poat said to anticipate traffic levels similar to leaving major sporting events or concerts.

Transportation officials also advised people not to park on the sides of roads to watch the eclipse.

When preparing to travel to watch the eclipse, KYTC representatives said people should pack essentials, like food and water, in case they become stuck in a traffic jam.

Officials also reminded people to bring protective eclipse glasses to watch the astronomical event safely. The American Astronomical Society has put together a list of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers it says provides safe solar viewers and filters to watch Monday’s eclipse.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
Related Content