Up to two million people are expected to come to our state for the total eclipse weekend, and leaders with the Columbia Police Department are refining safety plans now.
Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said it will be all hands on deck with more than 360 personnel working that August weekend.
“You’ll probably see higher levels of law enforcement than normal on the roadways,” Kelly explained. “We do anticipate some traffic congestion.”
Kelly said they expect to see a lot of vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the downtown area. He is asking everyone to help them out by being patient.
“We expect some longer waits. We would ask that people stick to their normal route,” the deputy chief said.
Kelly said they are working with South Carolina Highway Patrol and other agencies to develop some more strategic planning to handle traffic.
City garages will be open the day of the eclipse. However, for safety reasons, city leaders just ask that people do not watch the eclipse from the roofs of those facilities.
Leading up to August 21st, the 911 center will also be sending out emergency notification messages to residents' cell phones.
Kelly said the event is a good time for everyone to be ambassadors for the city.
“Just that good old southern hospitality” Kelly said. “Being that Columbia is a destination that a lot of people like to come to, we find that we do that a lot anyway. Whether it’s giving directions or pointing out our favorite restaurants. We like to help.”
On August 3rd, South Carolina Emergency Management will hold a news conference with other state agencies to talk about safety plans for eclipse weekend.