How will the eclipse affect Atlanta and north Georgia traffic?

So you're thinking about driving to north Georgia or elsewhere to catch a glimpse of the full solar eclipse? Or you're wondering what effect it will have on Atlanta traffic? Here's what you need to know.

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The eclipse: On the afternoon of Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, creating a 60- to 70-mile-wide path where the moon will totally block the sun. That path will pass through northeast Georgia, though people in metro Atlanta will experience a partial eclipse.

Traffic: An estimated 53,000 drivers will travel to northeast Georgia to catch the eclipse. As a result, Atlantans who stay behind may see decreased rush-hour traffic. But some north Georgia highways – especially U.S. 441 and U.S. 76 – may see far more traffic than they usually do, so expect delays.

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The state's response: Local police and the Georgia Department of Transportation are working together to handle the increased traffic. GDOT will restrict construction-related lane closures in areas affected by the eclipse – namely Rabun, White, Habersham, Towns and Union counties. The agency also will send additional HERO and CHAMP trucks to the region to assist motorists who have problems.

What to do: GDOT advises motorists to expect delays if they're driving to see the eclipse. It also offers a few tips: Don't park on the shoulder of the road. Park in a safe area away from traffic. Turn on headlights if you're driving during the eclipse. Don't look at the sun while driving. And don't wear those special shades while driving.

» RELATED: Solar eclipse checklist: Everything you need to pack, bring with you on eclipse day

The AJC's David Wickert keeps you updated on the latest in what's happening with transportation in metro Atlanta and Georgia. You'll find more on, including these stories:

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