Message signs, TripCheck will help motorists navigating through Central Oregon for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

PIONEER GRAPHIC - The town is ready to welcome visitors for the solar eclipse.An estimated 100,000 visitors have begun to enter the area from U.S. highways 97 and 26, and Oregon Department of Transportation is on patrol to ensure that traffic continues to flow.

"We will have incident response crews positioned strategically along U.S. 97 between La Pine and Madras, every few (four to five) miles," said Peter Murphy, public information officer for ODOT Region 4. "They're tasked with removing obstructing vehicles to keep the highway traffic moving."

Murphy said that ODOT will have two people in each truck to respond 24 hours per day on Sunday and Monday, Aug. 20 and 21, and 12 hours per day on other key days, to be adjusted as needed.

About a dozen Oregon National Guard members will be serving as "eyes and ears for us, looking at signalized intersections," he said. "It will be very helpful for us; I anticipate crews will have their hands full."

A total of six variable message signs will help ODOT keep motorists informed. Signs are located in Warm Springs, near the boat launch, at the north junction of Highway 26 and 97, near the south junction of Highway 26 and 97, and near the weigh station on U.S. Highway 97, south of Madras. A permanent display sign is located on Highway 97, just north of Gary Gruner Chevrolet.

"Job one is to be safe and to keep traffic moving all the time," said Murphy.

From Aug. 18-21, the city of Madras will close certain roads to through traffic to allow emergency and essential services to get through, as well as the shuttle buses. People who live along those routes need to contact the city if they have not received a pass to use the roads. See page B8 for a map of the Emergency Service Route, as well as public restrooms and trash receptacles.

The city of Madras will have flaggers controlling traffic at Cherry Lane and Highway 26, for Solar Port and MADclipse daytripper parking.

Check for a live view of the traffic along Oregon highways.

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