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Bonus Eclipse Episode: City officials detail eclipse safety plans

April 05, 2024

Public safety officials on Thursday said planning and patience will be key to ensuring everyone’s safety throughout Monday’s eclipse festivities.

Officials said they expect at least 100,000 visitors at more than 60 eclipse events throughout central Indiana. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Senior Vice President Allison Melangton said 80% of the people who have bought tickets to IMS’ eclipse festivities were not in IMS’ ticket system, meaning they have never attended a race, and likely have never been to the track before.

To deal with the influx of visitors, IMPD and Indiana State Police officials both said they have called in all available personnel. IMPD Chief Chris Bailey said officers will be dispersed throughout the eclipse festivities ahead of time on foot, bicycles, and ATVs. He said dispersing officers will ensure they are in a better position to respond to any emergencies. Bailey said officers will use drones and mobile cameras to get a better view of the crowds. The city will also activate its emergency operations center.

State troopers will focus on the highways. ISP Capt. Ron Galaviz told News 8 troopers will not close roads unless they have to. He said drivers should avoid stopping on any road during the eclipse, especially the interstates.

“We need to be mobile and to be able to respond as quickly as we can to not only calls for service but other types of things we normally see on the interstates,” he said.

Galaviz said he recommends travelers consult INDOT’s TrafficWise map so they can spot backups ahead of time.

Bailey said drivers should plan to arrive at their eclipse event early and stay late to avoid the worst backups. In addition, Bailey said everyone should make sure they have a full tank of gas and a good supply of food, water, and medicine.

“What we found from Nashville [during the 2017 eclipse] was that people were waiting in traffic six to eight hours, some of them longer, and they did not have enough fuel in their car, and their cars were running out of gas,” Bailey said. “That takes emergency services away to come and respond to that particular issue.”

Bailey said people can text ECLIPSEINDY to 67283 to get public safety alerts. He said the number will only send out alerts that are related to eclipse activities, and will be deactivated once the festivities are over.

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