The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Highway Patrol kept traffic moving as best as possible Monday while the state experienced historic traffic volume for the Aug. 21 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).
Also in the southern part of the state, traffic on US 85 south of LaGrange increased by 821 percent (16,300 more vehicles) on Monday. Traffic increased 150 percent (3,613 more vehicles) on Sunday, 63 percent on Saturday (1,487 more vehicles), 50 percent on Friday (1,277 more vehicles), 40 percent on Thursday (902 more vehicles) and 36 percent on Wednesday (766 more vehicles).
Traffic also continued to increase in the northwestern part of the state. On US 287 east of WYO 28 and Lander, traffic increased by 222 percent (2,395 more vehicles). Traffic increased by 119 percent (1,418 more vehicles) on Sunday, 158 percent (1,685 more vehicles) on Saturday, 81 percent (1,026 more vehicles) on Friday, 45 percent (519 more vehicles) on Thursday and 22 percent (253 more vehicles) on Wednesday, figures showed.
Traffic continued to increase locally in several spots. Those areas include Jackson, Afton, Etna and Moran Junction along US 89 and 191, which are high-volume roads in the state.
Traffic counts for US 89 south of Etna increased by about 132 percent (7,658 more vehicles), figures indicated.
Some other areas in the northwestern part of the state where traffic continued to increase included:
• US 89-191-187 north of Moran Junction north of Jackson – 79 percent (3,354 more vehicles)
• US 89-191-187 south of Moran Junction near Jackson – 67 percent (3,248 more vehicles)
• US 89-191-187 near Colter Bay near the Grand Teton National Park – 56 percent (2,309 more vehicles)
• US 189 north of Lazeart Junction near Evanston – 315 percent (3,809 more vehicles)
• US 89 south of Afton – 181 percent (4,594 more vehicles)
• US 189-191 at Teton National Park – 148 percent (3,169 more vehicles)
On I-25, traffic increased the most for Monday. I-25 north of Horse Creek had a 403 percent increase (46,484 more vehicles), I-25 at Central Avenue had a 229 percent increase (42,421 more vehicles), I-25 at the Colorado border had a 167 percent increase (38,247 more vehicles), I-25 north of Glendo had a 171 percent increase (14,626 more vehicles), I-25 west of Glenrock had a 105 percent increase (11,386 more vehicles) and I-25 south of Buffalo had a 165 percent increase (6,087 more vehicles).
Traffic along I-80 also increased on Monday. East of Evanston, traffic increased by 41 percent (5,879 more vehicles). West of Evanston, traffic increased 46 percent (7,159 more vehicles). West of Laramie on I-80, traffic increased by 45 percent (5,116 more vehicles). West of Rawlins on I-80, traffic increased by 26 percent (3,432 more vehicles). East of Little America on I-80, traffic increased by 16 percent (2,252 more vehicles), and west of Green River, traffic increased by 10 percent (1,661 more vehicles).
Traffic on parts of I-90 in northern Wyoming also had some significant increases over what that area had during the past few days. I-90 north of Buffalo had a 44 percent increase (4,042 more vehicles). From last Wednesday to Sunday, that section had anywhere from a 6 to 12 percent increase.
On I-90 north of Ranchester, traffic increased by 36 percent (1,863 more vehicles). The other sections of I-90 had increases of between 10 to 15 percent.
For more information, contact Doug McGee, WYDOT Public Affairs manager, at (307) 777-4010.
Pre-eclipse web camera photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B2sqqoFqhSO9VEhHMzR0OHdjZTA?usp=sharing
Post-eclipse web camera photos: