Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

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ResearchMed
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Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by ResearchMed »

Could a few of you from various locations in the "totality" zones share the reality about the predicted traffic horrors?

In particular, I'm curious about the traffic into (from north and south) and within Madras, Oregon.

But I'd really appreciate any reports of traffic (good, bad, ugly, non-existent, whatever) on major highways and also on nearby smaller roads.

Many thanks.

ETA: If you have information separately about "to" vs "from" the eclipse area, that would be useful.
(We changed our plans due to traffic predictions. Turns out... the expected "better weather" prevailed, but it seems the worse traffic did not. Sigh.)

RM
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spectec
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by spectec »

I heard one story about someone driving from Frankin, NC to their home, which would ordinarily have been about a 5-1/2 hour drive. They claimed the drive required over 10 hours following the eclipse.
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GerryL
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by GerryL »

Someone told me about driving from Silverton, OR back home to Happy Valley. They waited a few hours to avoid the rush. The drive took more than twice as long as usual.

Meanwhile, here in Portland, the anticipated problems with traffic on Hwy 26 and mass transit woes did not materialize. In fact, parking lots and roads were reminiscent of 20+ years ago. Even hours later. I thought I had experienced a time warp.
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MichaelRpdx
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by MichaelRpdx »

Getting to Madras before the eclipse was pretty much not a problem. A music festival east of Prineville had multi hour backups in the days leading up.

It was possible to drive from Portland to Salem Oregon with minimal delays on eclipse morning. A friend made a last minute decision to drive to totality and made it.

My ex-brother in law left Madras right after totality. It took him four hours to drive to Redmond - a 26 mile journey. Varied reports say roads into Portland from totality towns was stop and go traffic. My sister drove from Madras to Portland Tuesday morning with no delays.

Friend drove from Boise to Letha, Idaho. "65 on the way up, 35 on the return."

My drive in mid morning today from Salem to Portland was uneventful.

Several friends bicycled into the totality zone and all had a good time.

Consistent pattern: getting there was uneventful. Those who left immediately or day of got stuck in traffic.
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Raladic
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Raladic »

Some colleagues reported that it took them over 9 hours to return from Salem,OR to Seattle, WA, so that's more than double the time.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by ResearchMed »

spectec wrote: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:38 pm I heard one story about someone driving from Frankin, NC to their home, which would ordinarily have been about a 5-1/2 hour drive. They claimed the drive required over 10 hours following the eclipse.
Interesting.
I'm guessing (not that we guessed well about this at all!) that traffic after might be heavier than traffic going to the chosen location.
People who decided to do some additional sightseeing probably arrived earlier (in days, not just hours), but may well have left afterwards on the 21st or today (22nd). Just a guess.

We saw no highway traffic from our Nashville hotel for a few days before the eclipse.
But yesterday afternoon, starting a bit after the eclipse ended, southbound traffic (not northbound) was very slow, and then almost stop and go, for quite a while.
"North" was closer to the midpoint, so we are guessing (lots of guessing going on here) that people who drove from the south, headed another bit further north to get closer to totality.

... which is what we should have done, given the weather was so much better there.
Hindsight, etc....
The weather had been gloriously clear downtown until... until it wasn't.

We still had a great trip, but yes, disappointed.

RM
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

We made a last minute call to join family near Nashville because the weather near St Louis looked iffy. St. Louis would have been fine, as it turned out, but the combination of family and forecast tipped the scales.

Getting to Nashville from St. Louis Sunday night was no problem. We did notice that the rest stops near Hopkinsville, KY were packed, and assume people spent the night there. Highway signs along the path of totality warned against stopping on the highway or shoulder.

Getting from Nashville SE suburbs to NE suburbs Monday morning was no problem, and we found a great place to watch with a group of families, students, and geezers with tripods and big lenses. It was a wonderful experience. The cars started clearing out just after totality, which surprised me, as I thought they could have waited to see the later parts of the eclipse, but most did not. So we were among the last to leave, and getting into Nashville, or on I-24 headed NW or I-40 headed west was not going to happen. No way. Many people had come down from Ohio, I hope they were able to get to 65 and back home, but getting to and through Nashville was not going to happen before dark, and maybe it took longer for the jam to clear. We headed farther east on smaller highways and picked our way south, so maybe an hour drive took just over 2 hours. Overall not too bad, but there was no way we were going to get back to St. Louis that night.

Can't wait for 2024.
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diy60
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by diy60 »

We saw the total eclipse in Nashville. Traffic was heavy but not unbearable. I'd label it similar to peak summertime travel to/from the NC beaches. We lucked out with the eclipse. We elected to view the eclipse at our hotel by the airport rather than fight the crowds downtown or at the parks. Clouds disappeared about 4 mins prior to totality and the view remained perfect for the duration of totality and the 2nd half of the eclipse. We heard from folks returning to the hotel that most of downtown was a bust.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Horsefly »

The hype here in Denver said that the population of Wyoming was expected to double (which actually isn't saying much :happy ), and that I-25 was going to be horrible all weekend and through today.

We drove up from Denver to Casper WY on Sunday. Some of our friends that we were sharing the AirBNB with went up Saturday and were certain we would have terrible traffic. However, we never had to even slow down to the 80 MPH speed limit the whole way up.

One of our group tried to leave last night after the eclipse to return to Denver, and after sitting in traffic that was completely stopped on I-25 on and off for four hours, he turned around and spent one more night at the rental. Today we all left in the morning and had no slow downs at all.

So I think they were right about how bad it might be, but it was only that bad for the short time before and after the eclipse.

Steve

P.S. The viewing was awesome!
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Kenkat »

I got to experience full traffic armageddon. I was skeptical that traffic would be that bad, but I was wrong.

I drove from Cincinnati to Franklin, KY (right off I-65 on the KY-TN border). Normal drive is 3 hours, 45 minutes. Going to the eclipse, it took us about 4 hours, 15 minutes. So not too bad. However, leaving Franklin, I-65 North quickly became a parking lot and while we had some success taking back roads early, these also became gridlocked quickly. While it eased up some the farther north we went, it was still bad most of the way home and we didn't get back home until after 1am and a 10 hour drive.

The eclipse itself was fantastic, perfectly clear skies. What a sight! I will try to remember that and not the drive home. :wink:
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by fposte »

Friends who went to Carbondale said the trip home for them was 10 hours; should have been 3.
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Kenkat
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Kenkat »

Here is a good article on the driving experience in Kentucky:

http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/arti ... 12352.html
GuyInFL
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by GuyInFL »

Driving around Charleston SC and I-95 through Georgia and North Florida after the Eclipse was breeze. Freeway was full, but fast. I-10 across Florida was empty 8-)
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Iliketoridemybike »

Out west, the traffic seemed as predicted, if not worse.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by MulesFan »

Rural MO (east of KC) was smooth sailing going north & south both before & after. The back roads (blacktops & numbered hwys) were busier than normal but nothing extraordinary at all. After the eclipse, we crossed over I-70 and the traffic going west into KC was quickly backing up. The wait to use bathroom at Casey's was abnormally long (about 5 minutes. 😥). Then we sauntered home at a normal clip & got home in a half hour.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by ClevrChico »

North/South traffic was still orange on main roads on Google Maps into late evening in the midwest. The interstate here, hundreds of miles from the viewing area, banned shoulder parking. Traffic cameras showed bumper to bumper traffic instead of the normal light traffic.

People that traveled here reported travel times increasing 20% due to traffic, so I don't think it was on a nightmare scale in my rural area. But, it makes you wonder what would happen in a mass evacuation.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by neilpilot »

As I previously posted in the "How Far Would You Travel...." thread, with my airplane down for inspection I decided to drive the 180 miles from Memphis TN to KY Dam Park Airport in Gilbertsville, KY. Since I expected heavy traffic, we left really early, at 5am Monday. There was absolutely no traffic, and the normally 3.5 hour drive was exactly that. We arrived at 8:30.

Sky remained cloudless until after the eclipse, and we experienced 2:38 of totallity. It was totally worth the drive.

There was a bit more traffic on the return, but nothing really bad. The traffic did result in a slow-down on a stretch of Purchase Parkway where it was reduced to one lane either way for construction. So the return trip, on the same route, took about 4 hours. I was home by 6pm.

Note that the route I picked, while mostly improved roads with 65-70 MPH limits, avoided a slightly shorter route that would have involved a stretch of I-40 between Memphis and Jackson TN. That would have saved us maybe 10 miles each way, but would have likely put us in more traffic, especially on the return.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by catdude »

Predictions for central Oregon were that we would have wall-to-wall traffic for several days prior to the eclipse. That didn't materialize. During those several days, I checked the ODOT cameras for Rt 97 periodically and saw nothing out of the ordinary. I kept wondering where all the traffic was.

On Monday morning I got up early and checked the ODOT website again and saw that, once again, there was very light traffic. So I made a last minute decision to drive from Bend up to Redmond (i.e., northbound), at the edge of totality. I was afraid that if I went to Madras, it would be a madhouse and I probably wouldn't be able to find a place to park. Plus I didn't want to get caught up in heavy traffic on the way back.

On the drive up, I was apprehensive, not knowing quite what to expect. But things were quiet in Redmond. I parked in the parking lot of the Subway sandwich shop on the west side of Rt 97 (i.e., next to the southbound lanes), to make it easier to make a quick getaway. Once the show was over (i.e., at the end of totality) I quickly got back in my car and headed south back to Bend. Traffic was pretty normal.

I've been wondering since yesterday morning if I should've driven up farther into the totality zone. I probably would've found a parking spot somewhere. As it was, there was about 45 seconds of totality in Redmond... I could've extended that by driving further north. But I don't feel all that regretful. Seeing those 45 seconds of totality was a wonderful, unforgettable experience.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by oxothuk »

I drove from Boulder CO to Lingle WY to see the eclipse.

Left at 3AM and arrived around 730AM; no significant traffic until the last hour, and even then was still at the speed limit. I had planned to drive further west for better visibility, but the forecast improved Monday morning so that was not necessary.

Return trip took twice as long. Left around noon (15 minutes after the event) and got home at 730PM. Worst part was US 85 from Torrington to Burns. Once I reached the CO border it was pretty smooth sailing, except for a backup crossing CO 14.

Glad I did it.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by chicago_meatball »

I left lake Barkley Kentucky at 5 central and was home in Marietta ga by 11 pm est. avoided downtown Nashville by way of airport and only saw a mile of slowness on the back side of Nashville. I lucked out big time.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Calli114 »

No issues in the morning. On the way home I was on westbound I-44 in MO which was congested but moving well. The kind of thing where if I wanted to pass, had to wait on 10 other cars to go by. But still travelled mostly between 65-75 mph.
The interesting thing to me was HUGE volumes of OK, TX, AR plates. I told some friends in OK that the whole state was in MO for the day.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by HurdyGurdy »

Our initial destination to watch the eclipse was in Stapleton Nebraska; however, clouds were likely, so we ended up in the vicinity of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, still in Nebraska

After the ☀ most of the returning cars went south; however we went north, towards the South Dakota badlands and then East in I-90. Not much traffic.

It took some phone calls, but yesterday night we found a motel with vacancies near Interstate 90 in the middle of S. Dakota, and this morning we drove towards central Minnesota. No complications whatsoever.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Lacrocious »

We went from Charleston, IL (By Eastern Illinois University) to Carbondale (Southern Illinois Univiersity) - took about 2:45 in stead of planned 2:30 - we left around 6:30AM to get there around 9AM. Traffic was fine. We had a few quick stops on the freeway, but nothing bad.

Leaving, we were heading back to Milwaukee WI. It should have been < 7 hours and took about 11 hours. Left at 2:45PM and got home around 1:30AM. We took a western route near St. Louis and up I-39.

I heard from friends that took Hwy 57 up to just south of Chicago - normally 5 hours. They left around 2:30 as well and they got home around 4:30AM - 14+ Hours!

Those of us that used Waze or other mapping apps made small-town police lives miserable because they had hours and hours of waving traffic through stop signs in the small towns. Thank you for that!

The worst spot took us close to an hour to go 1.2 miles. We knew that from when we were stopped up to the corner we had to turn. We also spent between 1-2 hours w/o any Verizon Cell service in rural Illinois. Can you hear me now? No! "No Service" for you.

Anyway - the eclipse was Awesome!
- L
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Watty
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Watty »

I live in Atlanta and we were staying in Murfreesboro Tennessee about a half hour southeast of Nashville to avoid the crowds of the larger city in case we needed to move some at the last minute. I had reservations for Sunday and Monday nights but at the last minute I also got a reservation for Saturday night to avoid any potential traffic problems on Sunday. There was about an hour delay at Chattanooga on Saturday because of a truck accident but other than that the traffic was busy but normal.

We had a B&B in Murfreesboro where totality would have been about 1:00 minutes. About two hours before totality traffic was not bad so we started going closer to the maximum totality area where I had several other sites that I had looked at online. There was a huge soccer complex about five miles outside of town where totality would have been 1:30 minutes and there was some sort of city sponsored event. At that time traffic was busy but moving well and so we kept on going and once we got a bit farther out of town the traffic broke up and was moving at or above the speed limit.

We ended up at the farthest location I had looked at online which was a small city of Smithville about 35 miles away. It had 2:34 minutes of totality there and the skies were completely clear. We found a small city park where they were giving out free moon pies :D and there were a couple of hundred people there. A nice small town event. We got very lucky and pretty much had a perfect eclipse.

After the eclipse totality we spent about an hour more in the city then headed back to Murfreesboro. We only had about 20 minutes where the traffic was stop and go as we drove back to our B&B.

We drove back today(Tuesday) and there were traffic delays because of construction and rush hour but that was pretty normal.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by MathWizard »

Traffic was worse coming back from Missouri.

We had travelled down the day before and got close. Most people were close and getting in final position early.
Traffic was heavy on I 70 because the eastern part of Missouri had heavy clouds and rain, and many are traveled east
to get out form under the clouds and stopped when they had to.

Coming back, everyone was leaving at once, and when we hit the normal commuting traffic at 5-6pm, we ended up
stopped on the interstate. In areas where there was construction, traffic really ground to a halt with many, including us,
resorting to slower secondary roads with all the issues of towns and traffic lights.

The trip coming back took 30% longer than it normally would have.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by squirm »

All Bay Area Tesla Superchargers were full. 3 hr wait times.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by 22twain »

I live in the totality zone in upstate SC, so I didn't have to travel. After the eclipse, on the evening news of one of the TV stations in Greenville SC, the live traffic maps showed "red" on the northbound lanes of I-85 through Spartanburg towards the NC border, and on the southbound lanes past Anderson SC and into Georgia.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Helodriver »

We live in Spokane Washington which provided us several options of travel to totality all within a normal driving time of 4-7 hours. Central Oregon Eastern Oregon or Western Idaho were all on the drawing table. I was unable to locate a normal campsite coming late to the game in December. By normal i didn't want to pitch a tent with my family in someones backyard or parking lot. Over the years I have worked many wildfires in several of the areas directly in the path of totality. We decided on a small town in Western Idaho called Cambridge. The weeks leading up to the eclipse we were told by many we would be stuck in traffic such that we would miss the eclipse. That gas stations would be out of gas etc. The predictions were ominous from the news too many people headed to Oregon and Idaho.
We left before sunrise on Sunday with enough gas in the back of the truck to go almost round trip. Enough food and water for the duration.

I felt bad for the small towns in the area small groups of locals with signs for campsites, barbecue, t shirts etc. with almost no one there. The traffic was nothing. Less than normal even. I have been stuck behind horse trailers and RV caravans with longer backups. We camped by ourselves high on a Forest Service road. Had a wonderful experience in totality and packed up drove home late in the evening. Again on the way home no problem. I didn't even bring any revenue to the area because I didn't need any lodging and I had all the gas, food and water I needed.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Watty wrote: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:54 pm I live in Atlanta and we were staying in Murfreesboro Tennessee about a half hour southeast of Nashville to avoid the crowds of the larger city in case we needed to move some at the last minute. I had reservations for Sunday and Monday nights but at the last minute I also got a reservation for Saturday night to avoid any potential traffic problems on Sunday. There was about an hour delay at Chattanooga on Saturday because of a truck accident but other than that the traffic was busy but normal.

We had a B&B in Murfreesboro where totality would have been about 1:00 minutes. About two hours before totality traffic was not bad so we started going closer to the maximum totality area where I had several other sites that I had looked at online. There was a huge soccer complex about five miles outside of town where totality would have been 1:30 minutes and there was some sort of city sponsored event. At that time traffic was busy but moving well and so we kept on going and once we got a bit farther out of town the traffic broke up and was moving at or above the speed limit.

We ended up at the farthest location I had looked at online which was a small city of Smithville about 35 miles away. It had 2:34 minutes of totality there and the skies were completely clear. We found a small city park where they were giving out free moon pies :D and there were a couple of hundred people there. A nice small town event. We got very lucky and pretty much had a perfect eclipse.

After the eclipse totality we spent about an hour more in the city then headed back to Murfreesboro. We only had about 20 minutes where the traffic was stop and go as we drove back to our B&B.

We drove back today(Tuesday) and there were traffic delays because of construction and rush hour but that was pretty normal.
You made a good call on viewing location. There is a school near the soccer fields you mentioned where most of totality was blocked by clouds. Glad you had a good view and easy commute.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by rkhusky »

Kenkat wrote: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:29 pm I got to experience full traffic armageddon. I was skeptical that traffic would be that bad, but I was wrong.

I drove from Cincinnati to Franklin, KY (right off I-65 on the KY-TN border). Normal drive is 3 hours, 45 minutes. Going to the eclipse, it took us about 4 hours, 15 minutes. So not too bad. However, leaving Franklin, I-65 North quickly became a parking lot and while we had some success taking back roads early, these also became gridlocked quickly. While it eased up some the farther north we went, it was still bad most of the way home and we didn't get back home until after 1am and a 10 hour drive.

The eclipse itself was fantastic, perfectly clear skies. What a sight! I will try to remember that and not the drive home. :wink:
Exactly what we experienced from Portland TN to Cincinnati, staying mostly on 65, but side road to Bowling Green, - 10 hour drive. Google maps did not seem to be able to keep up with updates.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by pshonore »

Interesting observations. Time to start planning for 2024. Makes one wonder what would happen if a mass evacuation of a large area was necessary because of some catastrophic event? (nuclear accident, volcanic eruption, etc.)
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by mhc »

I went to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in western Nebraska. The drive home to northern Colorado was just under 4 hours. Normally, it would take 2.5 hours.

One of my co-workers went up I-25 to Glendo Lake in Wyoming. She said it took 5 hours to go 1 mile from the lake to the interstate after the eclipse. The 3 hour drive took 11 hours. I-25 near the center line was a total nightmare.

For Colorado, I think western Nebraska was the best place to go.
downshiftme
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by downshiftme »

Driving into the zone of totality the day before, and morning of, the eclipse was no problem and the predicted traffic jams did not materialize. Driving out of the eclipse area after the eclipse was a nightmare and all the traffic problems were as bad or worse than predicted. Using a GPS, there were some suggestions for alternate routes which provided less traffic briefly, but apparently so many people have traffic sensitive GPS that the side routes quickly became overloaded and worse traffic than the main route. Once committed to a side route, there were no easy ways to get out of the jams and the problems only got worse. I suspect that the traffic predictive algorithms that sent users to the side routes underestimated how many users would take the suggestions and the overcrowding that would create.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by itstoomuch »

Son left Salem OR @9pm. Arrived Seattle hm@3:15am. A normal Sunday return would be 4 hours if he left early eves. If he leaves Salem afternoon the the 210 miles trip would be 3.5 hours.
Friend left Salem by Amtrak Bus originating at Eugene, @7:15pm (15 minutes late). Arrived Union Station Portland @ 9:30. (Normally 75minutes)
Friend Left Salem 3pm, backroads to Hillsboro OR Arrive 5pm. Normally 90minutes.

News over hyped expected traffic coming into T-zone, and under hyped traffic leaving the area.
Plenty of areas in Salem to view the BigEvent and without traffic. The traffic issue was the normal chokepoints on I-5.
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Tallis
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Tallis »

I drove from St. Paul, Minnesota to Grand Island, NE. After the eclipse we headed home. There was heavy traffic east on U.S. 30, with occasional slowdowns. Traffic was much less when we turned north on U.S. 81. We would have done better to drive north from Grand Island, then headed east on a state highway. My impression was the I-80 was much more crowded, but there was no chance I was going near an Interstate on Monday.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by chevca »

itstoomuch wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:28 am Son left Salem OR @9pm. Arrived Seattle hm@3:15am
So he was one of them! :x :happy

I leave to work at 2 am and the traffic between Olympia and Seattle was ridiculous for that time of day. It was moving fine for the most part, but far too many cars for my liking during my morning commute. I like to just set the cruise control and coast. I actually had to drive that morning. :happy
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by lthenderson »

I drove 2-1/2 hours through light traffic to central Missouri for the eclipse. I was hoping that since there was a major city on either side of the state where the path of totality passed by, the center part of the state would be not as bad. I also stayed on the edge of the path of totality where the full eclipse was only 59 seconds long. We left right after the total eclipse and drove back through even lighter traffic on the way home. As predicted, the interstates north and south of the major cities on either side of the state were parking lots.
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by obgraham »

We went from Eastern Washington down to Central Oregon on Saturday. US395 is an out of the way route, and was empty. Found a good spot to boondock in the RV west of John Day. Only a few people there in a huge pasture field.

Coming back decided to leave at 3pm as ODOT showed no delays. Indeed 395 was again empty. As in really empty.

However, we have to cross the Columbia River at Umatilla, and between bridge construction, police mismanagement, and heavy traffic, ran into a 2.5 hour delay (10 mile backup) to get across the bridge. It turned out to be the only spot showing Red on ODOT's road condition map.
pjhalifax
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Location: South Carolina

Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by pjhalifax »

I went to Charleston - congestion seemed no worse than standard weekend traffic. Granted, I didn't try to leave downtown immediately after totality, but congestion was a lot lighter than I expected even at restaurants and other attractions in town. Maybe the cloudiness shifted folks elsewhere. We got lucky and had good views of the partial phase and totality through a break in the cloud cover.

Biggest traffic issue I saw was on Sunday when one of the downtown bridges got stuck open. They had to re-route traffic that afternoon/evening, I guess. We dodged that with the help of Google Maps.
Big Mig
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Big Mig »

Left Atlanta at 7 am, no real traffic on I-85 north, and arrived in Greenville around 9:30. Enjoyed the eclipse at the Drive game and headed south around 4, arrived home after 11 pm. Worst traffic was between Anderson SC and the Georgia line, on both I-85 and (roughly) parallel state roads, and 85 remained bad into Gwinnett County.
iamlucky13
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by iamlucky13 »

I drove from north of Seattle to south of Madras to visit family in Bend.

We had a good drive. Honestly, better than usual for north-south trips.

Two really big caveats though:

1.) I drove down 2 days before the eclipse (but after the start of the big festival in Ochoco National Forest that had the road through Madras clogged 4 days before hand), and back a day afterwards when a lot of people had already rushed back home for work. Overall, I devoted 4 days to a 2 hour phenomena (and would gladly do so again).

2.) We skipped both Seattle and Portland and the major roads from there to Madras. Instead, we drove 100 miles east on I-90, then went south on US-97. It seemed way out of the way, but proved to be brilliant.

We watched from near Prineville - a compromise that only gave us about 30 seconds of totality instead of 2 minutes. Again, we planned ahead of time to avoid the major roads. We had no trouble traveling between Bend and Prineville.

For the return trip around lunchtime yesterday, we were slowed down by probably about 10 minutes in Redmond and 30 minutes in Madras by traffic. Stopping periodically to keep the toddler from melting down in the car was a far bigger delay.
Naismith
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Naismith »

At the Salt Lake City airport on Monday night, we talked to someone who had needed 7 hours to drive from Driggs Idaho (eastern part of state), which is usually 3.5 hours. His family members barely made their flight because he returned the rental car for them.

We were in Swan Valley, Idaho, had left within minutes of totality, and it was gruesome where the westbound traffic from Yellowstone/Grand Tetons merged with those of us heading south. We crawled along at 5-10 mph for more than an hour.

We also hit rush hour traffic in SLC--at 7:30 p.m.! No actually stoppages there, but thick 45 mph traffic on what should have been a 65 mph highway.

The view of the eclipse from Idaho was spectacular. We were staying on a cousin's ranch, and it was interesting to observe the animals reaction. About 20 minutes before totality, the birds were chirping madly, and then stopped, apparently deciding to go to sleep. The cattle also lay down en masse. We also saw the shadow bands on a grey picnic table, very clearly.
skatterZ
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by skatterZ »

Denver to Stapleton Nebraska five hours
Back home five hours fifteen minutes, but we bypassed I-25 going home.
Over speed limit almost whole way, car computer said 72 average north.
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Kenkat
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Kenkat »

rkhusky wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:37 am
Kenkat wrote: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:29 pm I got to experience full traffic armageddon. I was skeptical that traffic would be that bad, but I was wrong.

I drove from Cincinnati to Franklin, KY (right off I-65 on the KY-TN border). Normal drive is 3 hours, 45 minutes. Going to the eclipse, it took us about 4 hours, 15 minutes. So not too bad. However, leaving Franklin, I-65 North quickly became a parking lot and while we had some success taking back roads early, these also became gridlocked quickly. While it eased up some the farther north we went, it was still bad most of the way home and we didn't get back home until after 1am and a 10 hour drive.

The eclipse itself was fantastic, perfectly clear skies. What a sight! I will try to remember that and not the drive home. :wink:
Exactly what we experienced from Portland TN to Cincinnati, staying mostly on 65, but side road to Bowling Green, - 10 hour drive. Google maps did not seem to be able to keep up with updates.
Speaking of Google Maps, this phrase got old quickly:

Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 9:15pm.
Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 10:27pm.
Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 11:05pm.
Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 12:35am.
Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 1:18am.
Traffic is getting worse. Your estimated time of arrival is now 2:08am

We finally got a "Traffic is improving" and made it home early. My son said to double whatever Google said for time and I think that was probably a good approach!
Sand101
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Sand101 »

pshonore wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:48 am Interesting observations. Time to start planning for 2024. Makes one wonder what would happen if a mass evacuation of a large area was necessary because of some catastrophic event? (nuclear accident, volcanic eruption, etc.)
You mean like Katrina? We have that example (actually much worse due to the limited roads in and out of NO).

Big Mig wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:38 pm Left Atlanta at 7 am, no real traffic on I-85 north, and arrived in Greenville around 9:30. Enjoyed the eclipse at the Drive game and headed south around 4, arrived home after 11 pm. Worst traffic was between Anderson SC and the Georgia line, on both I-85 and (roughly) parallel state roads, and 85 remained bad into Gwinnett County.
I was in Clemson and if it wasn't for all the wrecks on 85 (good grief people can't drive) it would have been fine. We ended up in the country above 85 for much of the ride back toward Atlanta. Took double the time it usually takes. Once 985 came in above Atlanta it was clear sailing.

Still so incredibly worth it. Definitely a singlular experience. Very glad we went.
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TimeRunner
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by TimeRunner »

I figured there would be all sorts of news pieces and clickbait articles about "Thousands lose eyesight as they stare at the eclipse", followed by "Class action lawsuits filed against makers and distributors of defective eclipse glasses." Surprisingly quiet so far. :twisted:
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.
mega317
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by mega317 »

Ok so will 2024 be better or worse?
Better: lots of people saw this one and won't feel the need to repeat, maybe more people will plan to drive the next day due to these traffic problems.
Worse: everyone who missed this one will be extra motivated, smaller US area of totality, even smaller area that isn't pretty likely to be overcast and raining in April.
It's also a Monday FWIW.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
letsgobobby
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by letsgobobby »

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topper1296
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by topper1296 »

I live in Nashville and I didn't have any issues with traffic, however I do know that of a person that lived in Louisville and drove to Bowling Green, KY which is about 75 miles north of Nashville and a 2 hour drive home took 5 hours.
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