What to expect on Colorado roads if you’re traveling north for the solar eclipse

Eclipse Traffic
Eclipse Traffic

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Monday’s solar eclipse could end up being the biggest travel event in the state’s history, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

CDOT spokeswoman Michelle Peulen said they’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

“It’s almost like we took Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July, and wrapped it into one, and put everyone on the road at the same time,” Peulen said.

The difference between travel for holidays and travel for the eclipse? All drivers are headed in the same direction this time.

“We have everyone going to the same destination, so we’re not going to have folks getting off at different exits,” Peulen said.

They’re working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming State Patrol to prepare for this surge on the roadways.

“We’re all working together to make sure that folks get to the place they want to watch the eclipse safely, and they return home safely,” Peulen said.

Peulen said to pack your car as if you were going on a long drive in a snowstorm.

“How would you pack your car if you were going on a road trip during the winter?” Peulen said. “You’d make sure you have a full tank of gas, you’d make sure you have snacks, you’d make sure you have water.”

CDOT is not discouraging people from going north to see the eclipse. They just want everyone to be safe.

“Some estimates are that Colorado will see an additional 600,000 cars that are headed to Wyoming,” Peulen said. “If it’s on the 600,000 side, that’s more than their population.”

Eric Medina is headed north on Saturday morning to see the eclipse with his family.

“I remember when I was a little kid, actually seeing the eclipse in the ’70s, and now I get to do it with my son and my mom,” Medina said.

Medina is leaving early, and he said he’s expecting lots of traffic and heavy delays.

“Unfortunately, patience is a virtue,” he said.

CDOT wants to remind drivers to not drive distracted by using any kind of electronic device behind the wheel. Also, if you happen to be stuck on the interstate during the eclipse, CDOT said to not pull over on the side of the road, as this can cause chain reaction accidents.

Larimer County created a text message system to provide eclipse-related weather and traffic alerts about this weekend. Text “ECLIPSE” to 888-777 for the latest.

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