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Partial eclipse, totally prepared

A solar eclipse may be only partially visible in Central Pennsylvania today, but preparations around the area are largely complete.

Here is a roundup of how some local companies and industries are bracing for the period this afternoon when the moon crosses in front of the sun, starting after 1 p.m. and ending just before 4 p.m.

Construction concerns

Several midstate contractors said they don’t expect any significant disruptions in construction work this afternoon. Nonetheless, they have been taking precautions.

Wohlsen Construction

“While the majority of our business market will not be in the ‘path of totality’ or expected to be significantly impacted, we do plan on communicating safety precautions to help our teammates prepare,” Adam Brown, the company’s safety director, said late last week.

Wohlsen was relaying eclipse information sent out by the National Safety Council and National Aeronautics and Space Administration to employees.  “Monday morning, our superintendents and foremen will review the information from the update as part of their jobsite safety talk with subcontractors and Wohlsen teammates,” Brown said.

Quandel Construction

Vice president Mike Gossert said the company has been discussing the event at its weekly safety briefings. The focus of those talks has been general awareness of the eclipse and how work zones may look a little different in the afternoon.

“For example, in your construction area where you relied on natural light to typically light up your work area, you may need some artificial light at some point during the afternoon,” he said.

Kinsley Construction

Spokeswoman Anne Miller said it should be business as usual for the company’s workforce.

“We’ll be abiding by the same safety precautions that the general public is following — don’t look at the sun,” she said.

While in transit

If you’re traveling, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police have several tips to follow if you’re on the road when the skies start to go dark.

“Motorists should use some extra caution when driving during the eclipse. The potential exists for traffic to be slowed or stopped in certain areas as people try to observe it,” said Corporal Adam Reed, a spokesman for the state police.

Stopping along the highways to watch the eclipse is something PennDOT officials do not want the public to do, however, as it is unsafe and, depending on the location, illegal.

“They should only pull over or stop along highways for emergencies,” PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.

“For those considering pulling off onto the shoulder, please know that slowing, stopping, and then trying to re-enter traffic on busy highways can be quite dangerous,” Reed added. “We encourage the public to make use of designated parking areas, such as rest stops or parking lots, in a situation like this.”

PennDOT also offered the following tips:

• Do not wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle.

• Manually turn on your headlights when the eclipse blocks the sun; do not rely on automatic headlights.

• Don’t take photographs while driving.

• Motorists should keep their attention on driving if they’re operating their vehicle during the eclipse.

If your travel plans on Monday involved flying in or out of Harrisburg International Airport, the eclipse should not pose any concerns.

“I’ve checked with operations and security and there is nothing we need to do differently due to the eclipse,” HIA spokesman Scott Miller said.

PennDOT Solar Eclipse

Marketing opportunity

Buying a plant from outerspace during the eclipse is probably a bad idea. Buying tickets to see a play about one might not be.

Fulton Theatre in Lancaster is offering a special Monday for its run of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Every person who buys a ticket on Eclipse Day will be entered into a drawing for dinner at Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub with “Little Shop” actor Ben Liebert.

The promotion is a play on a key plot point in the comedy thriller musical, which follows the misadventures of Liebert’s character, Seymour, after he unknowingly buys a sentient, man-eating plant during a total eclipse of the sun.

The show runs at the Fulton from Sept. 19 to Oct. 15.

Annie Bailey’s provided the dinner for the promotion as a way to support its neighbors in downtown Lancaster, said Josh Funk, co-owner of the East King Street eatery. The restaurant plans to run a similar special with the theater for its early 2018 run of “The Irish… and How They Got That Way.”

CPBJ Staff
Contact the Editorial Department at [email protected]

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