MADRAS, OR -- Madras officials expect at least 100,000 visitors for the August 21st solar eclipse, which could lead to major traffic problems throughout the small town. Madras Solar Eclipse Plan Facilitator Lysa Vattimo tells KBND News a number of streets will close to through traffic August 18-21. "We established this emergency services route for the specific purpose of getting emergency personnel and essential services personnel the ability to get around town. Not only for emergency services, such as EMS getting to the hospital, or the fire department getting around, but for local police getting to the jail and back. But, we are also utilizing these roads for public works folks and roads folks so that they can keep our essential services going."
Along with a couple of downtown streets, Canyon Road and Glass Drive will also close to the public. "The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is up right next to the airport, and that's where the jail is located. So, we are utilizing that road for our law enforcement partners to get in from downtown," says Vattimo. "And, in order to keep things in the downtown area, like all the trash receptacles emptied and the sewer guys pumping out the porta-potties, and giving them access to get up to the area of service that they need, we're allowing them to use that route, also." Residents directly impacted by the road closures have been notified by mail. Anyone with questions about the route is asked to call Public Works at 541-475-2344.
Vattimo has heard rumors of substantial road closures and even a mandated curfew, but she says none of that is true. "The main goal is to keep traffic flowing, so we're going to keep as many roads open as we can. These are the only roads that we have closed to through traffic so that we can utilize them for emergency services and essential services. Other than that, everything is open." But, she suggests everyone plan for extra time to get around town in the days surrounding the eclipse. "We're really working hard to make traffic manageable, and it's going to be challenging, but we think, with the event that's going to occur here - totality - it's well worth it."
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.