Wyoming Traffic Count Jumps by Over Half a Million Vehicles for Solar Eclipse
Traffic in Wyoming dwarfed the five-year average on Monday, increasing by some 536,000 vehicles as people entered the state to see the total solar eclipse, then left.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation says the 68 percent increase was most pronounced in Laramie County, which saw 209,394 vehicles more than average for the third Monday in August.
"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 in a news release. "These are historic traffic numbers for Wyoming. Our maintenance crews and troopers did an outstanding job under extremely difficult circumstances."
Even with all the good work by state employees and authorities, severe traffic congestion was seemingly unavoidable in certain areas. Laramie resident Michelle Mason told K2 Radio News it took her eight hours to get from Orin Junction to Laramie via I-25 and WY 34 through Sybille Canyon.
Given the numbers provided by WYDOT, Mason's long trip makes sense. US 30-287 south of WY 34 near Laramie had the largest relative traffic increase statewide -- a spike of 835 percent, or just over 12,000 vehicles above average on Monday.
The same highway north of WY 34 saw a 718 percent increase on Monday, with 7,454 more vehicles than average. To put that in perspective, Saturday only saw a traffic increase of 107 percent -- 11,146 vehicles -- while traffic on the highway on Sunday increased 214 percent.
US 85 south of LaGrange also saw a large increase -- 821 percent, or 16,300 vehicles -- on Monday. I-25 north of Horse Creek saw a 403 percent traffic increase of 46,484 vehicles, with a 229 percent jump of 42,421 vehicles at Central Avenue.
All the data reported for I-25 traffic shows numbers more than doubling for each segment. Interstate 80 saw smaller increases, none larger than 46 percent. I-90 also saw smaller increases.
Converse County saw an increase of 40,220 vehicles; Albany had 34,629; Fremont saw 32,973; 23,409 more vehicles were reported in Lincoln County; Niobrara came in at 23,389 above average; Platte with 20,381; Sublette at 19,269; Uinta at 16,846 and Carbon had an additional 13,303 vehicles as compared to the five-year average.