SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Eclipse-mania has reached fever pitch around the nation, especially in areas where the celestial event will be visible – places like Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.
Close to 50,000 vehicles are expected along I-15 Northbound over the weekend, as viewers head to southeastern Idaho, where visibility of the moon covering the sun will be best Monday morning.
Monday night, officials said, could be a nightmare on I-15 Southbound as travelers head back home.
“We are almost anticipating something similar to holiday weekends when it comes to travel,” said Sgt. Tony Carrubba of Utah Highway Patrol. Carrubba told ABC4 there may be extra patrols between Davis and Box Elder Counties in Northern Utah this weekend.
Drivers noticed higher gas prices Friday ahead of the big travel day. One traveler said he was trying to rent a car to go north, but to no avail.
“I went to the car rental place yesterday and basically she told me ‘good luck getting a car, because everything is rented out for the eclipse,'” said Utah driver Greg Swita.
Utah Dept. of Transportation (UDOT) reminded drivers this week to pack extra snacks and water if they are headed north to view the eclipse, as travel time could be extended due to traffic. Additionally, drivers should avoid pulling off to the side of the road to view the eclipse Monday morning and driving distracted during the event, UDOT said in a statement.
The moon will cover 91% of the sun in Salt Lake City Monday morning. Low cloud cover is expected in northern Utah and in Idaho.