Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

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TBillT
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by TBillT »

We were near but outside Carbondale IL. Not much traffic, although we used WAZE to work around one traffic jam on the way home. Probably we went around the main Carbondale traffic.

My neighbor in northern VA reports extreme traffic 18 vs. 5 hours getting home from SC I think he said it was I81 was a prob.

Could have been worse. If the weather was clearly going bad, say in Carbondale, then there could have been stampede on the roads. But in the end there was no clarity on where the weather would be better. So we just stuck with plans. In the end a stroke of bad luck put a tiny cloud in front of the Sun at exactly the wrong time for us (Murphy's Law as applied to eclipse viewing), but we had some time with a relatively clear view.
barnaclebob
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by barnaclebob »

mega317 wrote: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:46 am 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.
Most of the east coast and more major cities are within driving distance for the next one. I wonder if a higher % of the country will be within a 6 hour drive under normal traffic.
an_asker
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by an_asker »

Sand101 wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:08 pm
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.
I was in Clemson as well. Going up, I'd been worried about the traffic - left at 4:45 am the previous day to beat the rush. In the event, it was absolutely smooth sailing (though I did take the back roads, I doubt very much that the interstates had any issues). I got to the Spartanburg suburbs by about two pm though I had stopped in a couple of places along the way for gas, fast food, etc.

For the return trip, it did take us an hour more to return from Clemson to Spartanburg suburbs after the event. But once I left the area at about 7 pm, it was smooth sailing all the way - except a huge logjam on I-95 about 40 miles north of the Georgia border. Not having a data plan or GPS, I called DW to see if she could find me an alternative routing. She was unable to locate my exact spot on the map, so I just looked out the window and saw cars and trucks whizzing by on a parallel road. Checked out the handy dandy atlas, took the next exit and breezed through the rest of South Carolina.

Back on I-95 just before entering GA, found that the road widens to three lanes once in GA - the rest was very smooth. Got back home just before 3:30 am with minimal stops.
engineer1969
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by engineer1969 »

We had four hours tacked onto our 7 hour trip from Northwestern SC to the DC area. Our GPS took us on some side roads that perhaps saved us up to an hour. I-85 was the bottleneck.
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gasdoc
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by gasdoc »

We traveled into mountains. 2.5 hours in, 5 hours to return home. I wouldn't recommend attending a mountain location for that reason.

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Elsebet
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Elsebet »

My boss was on the road for 12 hours from OR to Seattle, WA. I was glad I could hear about it rather than experience it.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca
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Nicolas
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by Nicolas »

Traffic heavy but not overwhelming to and in Missouri, no significant delays. I've been in that kind of traffic before, many times. There was nothing really to worry about. One funny thing was that our GPS pronounced "Missouri" as "misery".
bradshaw1965
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by bradshaw1965 »

2 hour drive up to Lake Rabun, Ga from Atlanta day before, 4 hour drive back day of. I just treat it like a 2 hour long Disneyland ride line but with a much better pay off (for me anyway).
stormswami
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by stormswami »

Our approach to take the roads less traveled as we viewed from far southern Illinois (ultimately viewing alone on a rural road south of the town of Steeleville). It was interesting to see some of the 'traffic jams' on the way and after in small towns such as Rose Bud, IL and Chester, IL.

An acquaintance who tried to view the eclipse near Kansas City said they had a 5.5 or 6-hour return drive with frequent stoppages on the Kansas turnpike to Wichita (a very rural drive through the Flint Hills that would normally take 3 hours or less).
jpelder
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by jpelder »

I traveled from Charlotte to Brevard, NC. I was initially heading to Greenville SC, but got a late start and discovered the standstill on I85 South. US 74 from Charlotte to Hendersonville and then US 64 from Hendersonville to Brevard was busy, but still moving at the the speed limit as late as 12:30 on Monday. All of the roads heading East from Brevard back toward Asheville and Hendersonville were stop and go. Hendersonville to Charlotte was normal weekday traffic. I85 from Spartanburg North to Charlotte looked like a parking lot, though (I took US 74 all the way back and bypassed I85)
mervinj7
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by mervinj7 »

It took us 9.5 hours to drive from Salem, OR to Seattle, WA. It was not a pleasant drive but the experience was still worth it.
jimcrawford01
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by jimcrawford01 »

I live in Madras, OR and got to fly my small General Aviation airplane through the whole Eclipse. Priceless!
The traffic inbound to Madras was not as bad as predicted, but then, the predictions were dire.
The traffic outbound, post Eclipse, was OK Northbound, but Southbound was a parking lot.
If you were willing to wait and leave later, you could save much angst.
hightower
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by hightower »

We watched from Land Between the Lakes and camped there the night of the eclipse. We left the next morning and didn't encounter any traffic at all. I think getting outside the big cities and not trying to drive home immediately after the eclipse was key.
neilpilot
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by neilpilot »

hightower wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:19 pm We watched from Land Between the Lakes and camped there the night of the eclipse. We left the next morning and didn't encounter any traffic at all. I think getting outside the big cities and not trying to drive home immediately after the eclipse was key.
On eclipse day I drove both to and from KY Dam State Park airport. The drive is normally 3.5 hours one way. The round trip took only 7.5 hours; I was home in Memphis by 6pm. So my experience indicates that, had I not tried driving immediately after the eclipse, I would have saved at most 30 minutes.
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tuningfork
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Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Post by tuningfork »

We spent totality in Stapleton, Nebraska, a town of 305 that hosted about 6000 visitors on Monday. The morning of the eclipse our drive to Stapleton from our hotel about 50 miles east was uneventful expect for fog. We arrived before 8 AM and watched cars and buses arriving all morning. Traffic was steady but did not seem to back up on the little two lane road before the eclipse.

After was another story. Many left immediately after totality was over, jamming the parking area. We waited a couple of hours until the lot was nearly empty before leaving. The drive back to our hotel involved a few miles on the 2-lane southbound road before we turned east. Google Maps was warning of 45 minute delays to the south on a drive that normally took 30 minutes. All those cars were headed south to I-80 and then mostly on to Denver or further south. It was stop and go until we made our turnoff to the east, where traffic was steady but at or above the speed limit.

We had opted to travel to/from Nebraska on Friday and Tuesday to avoid any possible problems by doing it all on Sunday or Monday. Good plan. Traffic on I-80 on Tuesday was light.
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