Most people apparently got where they were headed for eclipse-viewing in Idaho late Monday morning, but as the sky returned to normal in the early afternoon, many hit the roads again and found heavy traffic.
Starting around 12:30 p.m. Monday — about an hour after the total eclipse in Emmett, Stanley, Weiser and other Idaho areas in the path of totality — drivers reported a midday rush hour headed out of Emmett, with stop and go traffic on Idaho 16. And many eclipse viewers hit the road from other spots, as well, Idaho State Police report.
About 1:15 p.m., the Idaho Transportation Department reported slow traffic coming out of Weiser and on Idaho 55 between Banks and Horseshoe Bend, but no major incidents. Earlier, they urged drivers not to be in a rush to head home.
Idaho State Police advised drivers to expect delays on westbound US 20, which had at least one crash and heavy congestion near milepost 310 in Bonneville County early Monday afternoon. Idaho 33 was backed up in both directions near Interstate 15, and traffic snarled on US 26 heading into Wyoming. ISP earlier reported a minor crash on northbound Interstate 15.
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Across Idaho’s western border, Oregon DOT tweeted: “Don't forget, if everyone leaves at once, you'll get nowhere fast.”
Traffic was reportedly heavy but manageable across Idaho during the run-up to the eclipse, slacking off as the much-anticipated event began after 10 a.m. and peaked at 11:27 a.m.
Treasure Valley traffic moved smoothly throughout the morning, but elsewhere in the state congestion had set in by 10 a.m., according to reports.
Idaho Transportation Department reported via Twitter that morning traffic on Idaho 55 at Garden Valley Road caused long delays. ITD also reported people lined along the roadway on Idaho 21 from just south of Idaho City to Stanley; on Idaho 55 from south of Horseshoe Bend to north of Donnelly; and on Idaho 52 from Payette to Horseshoe Bend.
ISP had urged motorists not to stop along Idaho highways to view the eclipse.
In eastern Idaho, Pocatello police report bumper-to-bumper, slow traffic on I-15 northbound from Shelly to Idaho Falls. No major incidents were reported.
Asked mid-morning if eclipse-day traffic was lower than expected, an ISP dispatcher replied, “we didn’t know what to expect.”