NewsSolar Eclipse 2024


More traffic predicted along Highway 79 ahead of total solar eclipse in April

Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-19 18:43:29-04

ROCKDALE, Texas — The City of Rockdale is preparing for more traffic expected along its busiest highway in Rockdale ahead of the eclipse set for April 8.

  • About 12,500 vehicles travel along Highway 79 daily, but that number is expected to increase.
  • Officials expect travelers to use this roadway to travel to larger cities like Austin for the eclipse set for April 8.
  • The City of Rockdale is planning to increase its police presence.


Greg Barber says traffic in Rockdale is already bad —

"How long do you usually wait?"

"Anywhere about 10 minutes to 15," he said.

Especially along highway 79.

“It's really got really bad. It's really hard for me out where I live McCawley Oaks. The traffic is backed up from the red light at Alpha One all the way to O'Reilly's," Barber said.

About 12,500 vehicles travel on 79 a day, according to TxDOT, and with the total eclipse set for April 8, the city of Rockdale is gearing up for an increase.

“Actually, TDEM is coordinating, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, which is the state's homeland security, and they are the ones that are really taking the lead on it and all the communities inside and working with them. What they're telling us is that we can expect up to a million additional people in our area," City Manager Barbara Holly said.

Traveling from cities like Bryan-College Station and Hearne to larger cities like Austin.

The city manager admits it brings some benefits for local businesses.

But safety is the priority.

“Our public works department has 10 men that they can deploy if they're asked, and our police department will have a full staff, and they will be able to be deployed as needed," Holly said.

As for Barber, he has different plans.

“I'm not gonna try to get out. I'll try to get everything done the day before. And of course, it's probably gonna be rough then because they're coming in," he said.