Long Prep for a Short Show
August 30, 2017
We were still employees of the Department of Roads when we began planning for the Great American solar eclipse. Even several months away, we understood that it was definitely a “Big Deal,” though it was difficult to comprehend the grand scale of it at the time. Group meetings and informal discussions helped us bring the subject down to earth.
A website went up, educating our audience on general best practices and linking them to in-depth resources. Soon after, one short animation went up, and then another, more expansive video followed. The site and videos emphasized the importance of eclipse viewers’ preparations, touched on tips to have a safe and enjoyable viewing experience, and emphasized travel safety before, during, and after the event.
From the Friday night before the eclipse until the Tuesday morning after, oversize loads were restricted across the state. While perhaps unnoticed by some drivers, it was an effort to make the roads a little safer and easier to navigate.
Before dawn on the morning of the 21st, the multimedia staff was already on the road, headed toward Grand Island and Broken Bow. They spent the day collecting images and video of the people, the traffic, and the celestial game of peekaboo before navigating the post-eclipse traffic back to Lincoln.
Meanwhile, staff in Lincoln updated our social media with traffic information, incident reports, and sharing helpful posts from law enforcement agencies. Jeni Campana coordinated with a host of other state agencies at the NEMA Emergency Operations Center, where joint briefings were held almost hourly.
The eclipse drew thousands of people from all over the country and the world to Nebraska and onto our roads. Whether they came from Massachusetts, Texas, Japan, Florida, Washington, or Slovakia, our goal was to provide a safe trip across our state.
From all of us at the Nebraska DOT, thank you for helping us make August 21st a safe and exciting day.