Friday, 7 August 2015

Pre-Eclipse 2017 Road Trip: Construction Delays

In the northern parts of the USA we have two seasons. Winter and Construction. During the warmer months construction is common along the Interstate Highway System. Two lanes are reduced to a single lane and this jams up traffic for miles at times. What should have taken an hour suddenly requires two. And with the added traffic expected around eclipse time, this could be catastrophic.

One of the worst signs to see on any road trip is one indicating that construction is just ahead. And to then see backed up lines of cars. Normally this is due to a constriction of lanes ahead. Pay attention to the signs and just get in line. Cutting to the front does not always work well and when traffic is really bad the police may be waiting for you. Trucks will often try to slow down such merging activity. A simple merge at about half the normal travel speed becomes a start and stop activity as people try to jump the queue.

You can sometimes learn about upcoming construction and delays from online sources and even in the car with satellite services such as Sirius. We tested the system supplied with our car and found it was pretty good with about a third to half of encountered construction being marked on the map. The majority was not marked at all by either the online resources nor satellite service. Hopefully this situation will improve in the next two years.

Taking an alternative route to avoid the construction using the on board navigation tool can be fun when you have the time. We found the navigation tool does not always account for the sudden slow downs when encountering small towns. And in some areas, the roads are not paved making progress potentially slow for cars without the proper suspension.

The best advice for eclipse chasers is to plan extra time for travel on eclipse day (and even the day before). It is after all, Construction season!

...More random thoughts about TSE2017 to follow...

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