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Kerrville warns solar eclipse visitors: Getting in will be hard but getting out will be harder

Aerial view of downtown Kerrville
Aaron Yates
City of Kerrville
Aerial view of downtown Kerrville

Kerrville Police Chief Chris McCall is warning motorists visiting the Hill Country city for the April 8 solar eclipse that getting out will be harder than getting in.

While visitors are expected to arrive in the city over an extended period of time to settle in for the once-in-a-lifetime event, many will try to all leave at the same time after the midday eclipse gazing is over.

"We're working to mitigate as many of those issues as we can," he said. "You notice I say 'mitigate.' We're not going to solve that issue, but we're going to do the best we can to move traffic through the city and to arterials that will move people back to their destinations."

The chief strongly suggested that visitors arrive a few hours early before the eclipse and be parked by noon. Parking locations will be marked around the city, including the Kerrville Sports Complex.

Kerrville Fire Chief Eric Maloney, who has led public safety planning for the event, played down some media accounts that projected nearly half-a-million people will descend on the city off Interstate 10, about 60 miles northwest of San Antono.

However, he expected that half-a-million visitors to be spread out across the Hill Country.

Kerrville's Fourth of July celebration "Fourth on the River" on the Guadalupe River
Photos by Aaron Yates, Samuel Beaver, Stuart Cunyus
City of Kerrville
File photo of Louise Hays Park in Kerrville during a recent Fourth of July celebration

"Be mindful [that] the solar eclipse, when you talk about totality, is 100 miles wide. It starts in San Antonio and goes to the other side of Junction," Maloney said.

Maloney said based on research they did on what happened in other locales during the 2017 eclipse, they expect Kerrville, a town of around 25,000, to double or triple in temporary population.

Some local projections on turnout have been placed as high as 150,000.

Kerrville's visitor and parks and recreation departments are urging visitors to enjoy the Kerrville Eclipse Festival at Louise Hays Park.

They also suggested visitors could hang around after the eclipse to enjoy the city and prevent a departing traffic gridlock.

Kerrville has put together a FAQ sheet about coming for the eclipse here.

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