CDOT: Eclipse traffic could be most significant traffic event of the year
The Colorado Department of Transportation is doing everything it can to ensure folks who are driving to Wyoming or Nebraska to view the totality of the solar eclipse on Monday are safe and will all be able to get where they are going.
Throughout the country, preparations have been underway for months for people to flock to areas in the path of totality for the eclipse. And Colorado is no different. CDOT has been working with Colorado State Patrol, Wyoming Department of Transportation and local, city and state first responders and emergency management officials to develop a plan to try to make Monday as smooth as possible.
Those plans include:
- Stopping permits for all oversize/overweight vehicles from Thursday, Aug. 17, to Wednesday, Aug. 23, north of Colorado Highway 50.
- Suspending construction on all projects from Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning.
- Strategically staging with state patrol and local emergency responders along the major corridors to respond to incidents on the roadways.
- Closely monitoring traffic and incidents from CDOT Traffic Management Centers using traffic cameras and other intelligent transportation system devices.
“This has the potential to be a major traffic event,” said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. “Both given the heavy traffic volume as well as disruptions due to the eclipse. We are asking the driving public to plan ahead, be safe, and be patient.”
In Colorado, you can also go to http://www.cotrip.org and in Wyoming, you can go to http://www.wyoroad.info for real-time traffic updates. CDOT also has a page dedicated to eclipse information: http://www.codot.gov/news/2017-news/august/eclipse-traffic-tips.
Currently, predictions for attendance in Wyoming and Nebraska are very high. Some experts are predicting up to 600,000 more people cramming into Wyoming to witness the eclipse, essentially doubling the population of the state.
Since the eclipse is on a Monday, traffic is expected to be heavy through the weekend before but will probably be even worse coming back after the sun shines again.
Driving tips from CDOT, Colorado State Patrol and the Wyoming Department of Transportation:
· Pay attention, and don’t drive distracted. Drive defensively because there will be more motorists on the road, and some of them may be slowing down or may not be paying attention when the eclipse is occurring.
· Ensure vehicles have plenty of fuel.
· Don’t stop and pull off onto the side of the roads.
· Don’t use the center median crossings on the interstates for turning around or parking. Those crossings are for authorized vehicles. Emergency vehicles need to keep these areas clear for response to emergency situations.
· Don’t park on any highway shoulder or in any ditch area. That can not only be dangerous for you and other drivers, but a person’s car exhaust could start a grass fire.
· Plan ahead and move to a safe and legal area prior to the eclipse so you can enjoy the experience.
· Use eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse.
· Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. It is unknown how busy traffic will be, but with hotels and campsites sold out, we are expecting large amounts of traffic surrounding this momentous event.
· Travelers should check applicable traveler information for Wyoming and Colorado (COTrip, 511, GovDelivery alerts, mobile navigation apps) before departing and reference traveler information throughout their trip to avoid significant delays. Depending on the traffic, cell phone coverage may be overwhelmed.
Construction of a new terminal at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport has been delayed at least until next year.