IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (ABC4 Utah) – Eclipse 2017 gets closer and closer and as the public gears up to travel to spots along the path of totality, our neighbors to the North have spent months planning for an influx of people into Southern Idaho.
The path totality includes Idaho Falls, and the city expects plenty of Utahns to head in that direction for solar eclipse viewing. The Utah Department of Transportation is planning for heavy travel on our roads, and the Idaho Transportation is expecting a massive amount of road congestion and the agency says it is doing all it can to make the experience smooth for drivers. One of their secret weapons? Placing dozens of portable toilets under overpasses on major routes into Idaho Falls.
“We recognize if congestion is bumper to bumper and there’s not access to facilities, this could be a blessing to various folks, so we want to provide that to folks,” Bruce King of the Idaho Transportation Department said.
The portable toilets, about 50 in total, will be placed along I-15, U.S. 20, Idaho 22 and Idaho 30. The Idaho Transportation Department will be tracking how many visitors will be traveling into the state over the weekend with the help of automatic traffic recorders. They’ve staffed extra road crews in anticipation of gridlock.
Estimates of anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 additional people have crews on their toes and making decisions they plan to stick too. Drivers need to remember not to pull onto the shoulder of major roads and that traffic will never switch direction of the interstate under any circumstance. Idaho State Police also know that it is going tough for troopers.
“The bottom line it’s going to take a long time to get from Point A to Point B,” Lt. Chris Weadick of Idaho State Police said.
Motorists will need to pack their patience. The eclipse is already falling in between the “100 Deadliest Days” on Idaho roads, so troopers expect a rise inattentive, distracted an aggressive driving. The agency will be handing out citations and monitoring roads carefully for the before, during and after the eclipse.
“We will be out in force. I am bringing in troopers from Coeur D’Alene, Lewiston, event he Boise/Meridian area, so we will be out in force and looking for those violations that will be causing our crashes and that are goign to cause traffic to back up,” Lt. Chris Weadick of Idaho State Police said.