TWIN FALLS — Traffic counts are higher than a year ago on major routes to Idaho’s path of totality — but as of Friday afternoon, things aren’t as bad as expected.
Idaho Transportation Department has set up 24 traffic counters across the state to monitor congestion leading up to Monday’s total solar eclipse — expected to draw up to a half-million people to Idaho. Results compiled from 11 a.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Friday show higher traffic volumes, but no major shift in which direction the vehicles are going.
Agencies that were preparing for the worst were relieved to see things running smoothly so far.
“I’m a little surprised the numbers aren’t higher,” ITD Public Involvement Coordinator Adam Rush told the Times-News. “… but it’s still only Friday.”
ITD has reported no major traffic jams.
When compared to the same day a year ago, the Banks-Lowman Highway had a 35 percent increase in traffic during the 24-hour period ending Friday morning. U.S. 93 at Craters of the Moon had a 29 percent increase in traffic, with 2,470 vehicles. Near Rogerson on U.S. 93, the increase was only 12 percent.
On Idaho 75 near Hailey, 18,390 vehicles brought a traffic increase of 6 percent.
“It may not be exactly even, but what we’re seeing is not one lane is backing up more than the other,” Rush said.
The only road that showed fewer vehicles than a year ago: U.S. 20 at Targhee National Forest, with a 7 percent drop.