According to Colorado Department of Transportation, traffic will be at a high point for the year as people travel to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse from the path of totality.
Most Colorado residents who plan to watch the eclipse from the path of totality will be traveling to Wyoming or Nebraska, and CDOT has been working with Colorado State Patrol, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and local, city and state emergency-management officials to make Monday’s commute as smooth and safe as possible.
Attendance will be high in Wyoming and Nebraska. According to CDOT, some experts predict Wyoming’s population to increase by 600,000. People driving from the south to the path of totality will occupy all northbound highways in Colorado, such as Interstate 25, U.S. highways 287 and 85, Highway 52, etc.
“This has the potential to be a major traffic event. Both given the heavy traffic volume as well as disruptions due to the eclipse,” Shailen Bhatt, CDOT executive director, said in a press release. “We are asking the driving public to plan ahead, be safe, and be patient.”
Measures that have been taken include:
North of Highway 50, permits for all oversize or overweight vehicles will be stopped Aug. 17-23.Construction will be suspended for all projects Aug. 18-22. CDOT safety patrol will be increased along northbound lanes of Interstate 25, with state patrol and emergency responders stationed along major corridors.Traffic and incidents will be closely monitored with cameras and Intelligent Transportation System devices from CDOT traffic-management centers.Exceptionally high traffic is predicted after the eclipse on Monday, possibly continuing through Tuesday, as people return from Wyoming and Nebraska. Southbound travel delays could exceed several hours on routes to Denver and Colorado Springs, and are expected to peak from noon to midnight on Monday.
Drivers are urged to:
Pay attention and do not drive while distracted.Drive defensively, especially during the eclipse.Ensure vehicles have plenty of fuel.Avoid stopping on the roadside.Stay off center median crossings on interstates; they are for authorized vehicles and need to be kept clear in case of emergency.Plan ahead and find a safe, legal area to stop and watch the eclipse.Use solar glasses to view the eclipse to ensure safety.Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks.It is unknown exactly how busy traffic will be, but sold-out hotels and campsites indicate that Colorado roads will see a drastic increase in motorists.
For traffic updates, those in Colorado can visit www.cotrip.org and those in Wyoming can visit www.wyoroad.info. CDOT has also provided eclipse information at www.codot.gov/news/2017-news/august/eclipse-traffic-tips.