SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – The Illinois Department of Transportation says crowds of up to 200,000 are expected to travel to the prime viewing areas in southern Illinois to see Monday’s total solar eclipse.

This has led local municipalities to urge people to be prepared for an onslaught of tourists coming to the area to watch the celestial event.

People are encouraged to fill their gas tanks, get their groceries, pet needs, and medications before Monday and to expect a massive increase in traffic through our region.

I-57 is the direct interstate access to the path of totality. U.S. 45 runs through the middle of the path of totality. Illinois 1 and I-64 and I-70 will provide access to the area.

All roads in and out of the area are expected to have heavy congestion in the couple hours after the eclipse. Any lane closures on state projects will be lifted throughout the weekend and the day after the eclipse.

The solar eclipse will be visible over 128 miles of Illinois Monday.

Totality enters Illinois as it crosses the Missouri state line southwest in Carbondale at 1:58 p.m. The eclipse will follow a diagonal line crossing over Fairfield and exit Illinois at Mount Carmel at 2:06 p.m.