Traffic on U.S. Highway 26 near Prineville, Oregon on Wednesday. Courtesy photo Ochoco National Forest
Traffic on U.S. Highway 26 near Prineville, Oregon on Wednesday. Courtesy photo Ochoco National Forest

Local

Eclipse traffic is already awful and we’re still four days away

August 17, 2017 8:33 AM

If you didn’t believe the warnings about traffic nightmares leading up to the total solar eclipse that occur in Oregon on Monday morning, you’ll want to see this.

Oregon State Police tweeted a photo late Wednesday night of a 30-mile-long backup near Prineville, Oregon. Another tweet from the Ochoco National Forest showed people standing on the shoulder of a highway because traffic wasn’t going anywhere.

Prineville HWY 26 E Symbiosis Evnt. Moving 800 cars an hr into evnt . Back-up is about 30 miles from the event loc #knowbeforeyougo pic.twitter.com/cSuRyYppNk

— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) August 17, 2017

Traffic at a complete standstill from Ochoco Reservoir heading east. People out of their cars relaxing. pic.twitter.com/DdurIZ9Qsp

— Ochoco NF (@OchocoNatForest) August 17, 2017

Earlier in the day state police tweeted about heavy traffic in La Pine, Oregon.

Approximately 30,000 were expected to attend a five-day Symbiosis Gathering in Big Summit Prairie, which likely brought the first wave of eclipse watchers to rural highways near Prineville.

"We're the last town that people would go through to arrive at that event," Casey Kaiser, executive director of the Prineville and Crook County Chamber of Commerce, told oregonlive.com.

The Bend Bulletin reports on businesses stocking up on alcoholic beverages before the big day and calls for water conservation as 200,000 visitors are expected to pour into Central Oregon.

Some gas stations in Bend ran out of gas and diesel on Wednesday, while others had long lines, according to KTVZ.

NO GAS ⛽️: Some #Inbend gas stations are out of gas/diesel. Other stations are seeing long lines. #OReclipse #SolarEclipse2017 #KTVZEclipse pic.twitter.com/EuxFIboxAR

— Pedro Quintana (@PedroKTVZ) August 17, 2017

Washington transportation officials have been warning drivers for weeks not to wait until Monday morning to drive down to Oregon. The AP reports that expected choke points on the roads include the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 bridges that connect Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon; U.S. 97 into Klickitat County; the Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview, Washington, and Rainier, Oregon; and U.S. 101 from Ilwaco, Washington to Astoria, Oregon.

By now, y'all got your plan ready to view #Eclipse2017 ? #andnotstoppinginthemiddleoftheroadtowatchit #ortheshoulder

— Washington State DOT (@wsdot) August 17, 2017

Thinking of staying home? The view in Olympia will be close, but no corona. But you’ll have company seeing the 94 percent partial eclipse if you head down to the Washington State Library, 6880 Capitol Blvd. SE, Tumwater, where a free event will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

NASA jets prepare to chase the total solar eclipse

For most viewers, the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse will last less than two and half minutes. But for one team of NASA-funded scientists, the eclipse will last over seven minutes. Their secret? Following the shadow of the Moon in two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes.

NASA Goddard

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.