BEND, OR -- Joining city and county officials, Oregon's Department of Transportation is planning for this summer’s solar eclipse, which is expected to bring an estimated 100,000 people to the High Desert. The path of totality stretches from Fossil to Redmond, with Madras considered one of the best viewing spots in the state - some say, in the country.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy says his agency is focused on keeping traffic moving, and that means preventing drivers from stopping on the highway to watch the eclipse. "We’re going to have people stationed every four to five miles to just kind of keep track of what’s going on; to monitor. And then, we’re talking with tow companies to help us, in the event something does happen. But really the key to all of this is advanced planning."
He can't stress enough the importance of planning, "There are people who are contacting the city of Madras – I was at a meeting up there the other day – that’s their game plan is to come up the day of. Well, you’re not going to be able to get here the day of. And, here’s the worst case scenario: People who are in The Valley, who are planning to go to the coast because it also crosses over there, and it’s cloudy, they’re all coming this way. And, they’re all going to come up Highway 20 and 22 through Sisters to get here." He tells KBND News, "This is going to be the bigger statewide message: Don’t try and come up the day of and find out where you’re going to look at the eclipse from, because that’s going to mean that the traffic on the highway stops; period, done, over."
Murphy encourages locals to scope out a viewing spot in advance and then arrive early, or stock up on supplies and stay home August 21st. To hear more of our conversation with ODOT's Peter Murphy, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.