Post-eclipse: Oregon traffic jam for the ages

About 1 million visitors came to Oregon for the eclipse

Traffic leaving Madras just a few hours after the eclipse, Aug. 21, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — And now, the traffic.

Almost immediately after the solar eclipse reached its maximum totality, travelers hit the roads — and they clogged up quickly.

I-5 northbound traffic was bumper-to-bumper as far as the eye could see — and farther.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation predicted this could be the greatest traffic jam in Oregon history.

Traffic on I-5 NB after the eclipse, August 21 2017. (KOIN)

The Washington Department of Transportation said in a tweet: “Returning from Oregon now? Good luck. It’s really nasty.”

Meanwhile, Idaho State Police is reporting that traffic remains at a standstill in eastern Idaho along both U.S. 20 south of Ashton and U.S. 26 going into Wyoming.  Officials are encouraging drivers to be patient as crowds disperse from watching the eclipse.

KOIN 6 Interactive Traffic Map

Watch Live: Chopper 6 on traffic

It wasn’t just cars that were gridlocked in Madras. Private planes were lined up around the Madras airport awaiting clearance to take off hours after the eclipse ended.

Oregon Department of Aviation director Mitch Swecker says other airports had more private planes than usual ahead of the eclipse, but Madras – a prime viewing spot in the path of totality – had much more traffic.

Private planes are lined up around the Madras airport waiting to take off hours after the solar eclipse, August 21, 2017 (KOIN)
Private planes are lined up around the Madras airport waiting to take off hours after the solar eclipse, August 21, 2017 (KOIN)

 

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story. The Associated Press contributed to this report.