More than half a million extra cars crossed state borders for eclipse

Aug 22, 2017 From wire reports

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Highway Patrol worked to keep traffic moving Monday while the state experienced historic traffic volume for the solar eclipse.

Overall traffic increased by more than 536,000 vehicles (almost 68 percent) during the Monday, Aug. 21 solar eclipse compared to the five-year average for the third Monday in August. Traffic increased the most in the central, western and southern parts of the state.

"The Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol worked together to ensure traffic flowed as smoothly as possible with the amount of traffic we saw on Monday," WYDOT Director Bill Panos said. "These are historic traffic numbers for Wyoming. Our maintenance crews and troopers did an outstanding job under extremely difficult circumstances."

Laramie County saw the largest increase for Monday at 209,394 more vehicles. Laramie County is where interstates 25 and 80 meet.

The other counties that had significant increases included Converse at 40,220 more vehicles, Albany at 34,629 more vehicles, Fremont at 32,973 more vehicles, Lincoln at 23,409 more vehicles, Niobrara at 23,389, Platte at 20,381 more vehicles and Sublette at 19,269 more vehicles, Uinta at 16,846 more vehicles and Carbon at 13,303 more vehicles.

Although the Wyoming Department of Transportation can't say for sure that the increase is the result of the eclipse, it is a good indicator it's the result of the solar event. The increases don't consider vehicles that pass the same spot multiple times a day, like commuter vehicles or local delivery vehicles. The traffic counts also don't reflect all traffic movement in the state as all roads don't have counters.

Traffic increased significantly on US 287 south of Tie Siding near the Colorado border. Monday's figures had increases at 245 percent for the entire day (10,083 more vehicles). Traffic has steadily increased on that road over the past few days with Sunday's figures showing an 88 percent increase (4,877 more vehicles), Saturday's, at 85 percent (4,402 more vehicles), Friday's at 60 percent (3,281 more vehicles) and Thursday's and Wednesday's at both more than 40 percent (1,989 and 1,815 more vehicles), WYDOT figures showed.

North of Laramie on US 30-287 north of WYO 34, traffic increased by 718 percent on Monday (7,454 more vehicles). On Sunday, traffic increased 214 percent (2,527 more vehicles) and on Saturday, traffic increased 107 percent (11,146 more vehicles). On US 30-287 south of WYO 34 near Laramie, traffic increased by 835 on Monday (12,051 more vehicles). On Sunday, traffic increased 145 percent (2,804 more vehicles) and on Saturday, traffic increased by 78 percent (1,298 more vehicles).

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