Richmond and Wayne County will be buzzing before the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Visitors will fill hotels, campgrounds and other lodging options throughout the weekend leading up to the Monday celestial event. That’s going to increase traffic on local roads and demand at local businesses.

A little planning and preparation can help smooth the experience for residents and visitors, according to local public safety and tourism officials.

“We want it to be a fun and safe experience for citizens and visitors,” said Matthew Cain, director of the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency.

Residents are encouraged to take care of errands and appointments before the eclipse influx. Get prescriptions, groceries and fuel in advance to avoid traffic congestion, longer lines and, possibly, shortages.

There will be more vehicles on roads and more people taking advantage of local restaurants and other businesses. Patience is asked.

Estimates peak at possibly 100,000 visitors in Wayne County for the eclipse. Increased demand could impact cellphone and internet service, causing difficulty making calls or going online. 

Mary Walker, the executive director of the Wayne County Convention and Tourism Bureau, said to simply be helpful during traffic jams or waits at businesses.

Significant traffic jams are expected April 8. There could be an exodus from Wayne County if predicted weather would impede viewing the eclipse. Conversely, eclipse viewers could migrate to Wayne County if the local weather forecast is clear for the eclipse.

Residents might choose to view the eclipse at home, but a variety of local locations are hosting eclipse viewing events. It’s recommended to arrive at those sites early, stay put during the eclipse’s duration and leave late. Delaying departure after the eclipse’s end — about 4:30 p.m. — would help alleviate traffic. With good local weather, traffic congestion is expected as viewers leave the eclipse area.

Do not call 911 or the Wayne County Emergency Communications Center for traffic information on eclipse day. The Indiana Department of Transportation provides interactive traffic maps online at

Fender benders will only exacerbate any traffic problems, so drivers are urged to be considerate of other drivers and to drive safely.

Those traveling to an eclipse viewing site should ensure they have plenty of fuel in their vehicles and pack snacks, water and charging cables. They also should plan for the weather. April could be warm or cold, so anticipate spending time in those conditions, with appropriate clothing and sun protection.

Also make sure to have proper eclipse glasses or viewers. In addition to eclipse glasses available at many local locations, plus for $2 at the Old National Road Welcome Center, 5701 National Road E., Richmond, Primex Plastics is producing hand-held single and two-person viewers. They are available online at for $29.99 and $35.99, in some local locations and at the Welcome Center, where the two-person viewer costs $39.99.

Complete information about the eclipse, viewing locations and related activities is available online at and at the Welcome Center. An eclipse hot line provides information by calling 765-935-8687 and asking about the eclipse.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 20 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.