Superloads halted, other restrictions in place for eclipse

Oversized load

Preparations for Great American Eclipse are continuing, with some trucking associations along the path of totality (the 70-mile wide stretch where the eclipse will be fully visible) pushing education campaigns, Transport Topics reports.

Sheila Foertsch, managing director of the Wyoming Trucking Association, said that “no overweight or oversize vehicles” will be on the expected path of totality between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22.

Scott Montgomery, captain of the Wyoming Highway Patrol, said those vehicles range between 40,000 and 136,000 pounds with a “superload” hitting the 160,000-pound mark.

Truckers who need assistance on the road could also find cell service to be spotty. Bill Gordon, Hot Springs County Emergency Management Coordinator, told WYO Daily how wireless service providers “are not increasing their service to these towers.”

He was also the person who noted the interest that the local trucking industry has in this eclipse event. With the traffic expected to be heavy right from the starting point of the path of totality in Oregon, Gordon mentioned how traffic “may come … to a halt.”

He continued that the congestion will put trucks in a situation where they “are going to get slower and slower until they get through it and come out [on] the other side.”

So apart from establishing a hotline for commuters and drivers, he noted to “defer some of the load off

Oregon’s Department of Transportation, through Motor Carrier Transportation Division spokesman David House, told Transport Topics that he expects gridlock in one of the most congested highways in the Western U.S., according to INRIX, a Seattle-based traffic research firm. If traffic is already labeled as “bad” on a regular day, House expects the eclipse to make the congestion along Interstate 5 “10 times worse.”

The traffic congestion is expected to be as bad as days when Oregon State University and the University of Oregon both “host football games on the same day,” House said.

Oregon is also expecting traffic congestion between North Tomahawk Island Exit 308 and the Oregon 43 Exit 299 by Macadam Avenue.

Transport Topics quoted the American Transportation Research Institute about the level of losses that the trucking industry suffers from traffic congestion. In 2015 alone, the reported cost was tallied at $63.4 billion.

Among the trucking associations mentioned by Transport Topics, only the Idaho Trucking Association provided specific metrics to measure if a truck load is oversized. Between 4 p.m. on Aug. 21 and the early morning hours of Aug. 22, only loads less than 10 feet wide and 100 feet long may be delivered by carrier.

Trucking associations have taken upon themselves to distribute fliers and other promotional materials in Kentucky, South Carolina and Nebraska. Kentucky Trucking Association President Guy Young viewed the week of the eclipse as “another business day” and implied that their group has participated in informing locals through Kentucky highway message boards of the eclipse preparations.