Which 12 Cities Will Get the Most Traffic During the Eclipse?

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Business Insider had a fascinating article this weekend about projected traffic jams for Eclipse 2017. Michael Zeiler created “driveshed” maps to show where people are likely to drive to see the eclipse.

“I thought about about every populated point in the United States, and I asked the data: What is the quickest drive to totality?” Zeiler told Business Insider. “I discovered there’s going to be about one or two dozen traffic-congestion points that are going to be particularly severe.”

Michael Zeiler/; ArcGIS/Esri

Unfortunately several small towns are in the top 12, with tiny Santee, South Carolina, likely to face the largest deluge of visitors being within range of nearly 75 million people. South Carolina in general is the closest location for one-third of the US population. Whitehouse and Sweetwater, TN are other hot spots, as are Salem, Oregon, Idaho Falls, ID and Sabetha, Kansas.

I drove down to western North Carolina at 3AM yesterday in the hopes of escaping the bad traffic on I-81 (it worked) and was interested to see the preparation the small towns by the Blue Ridge Parkway were making. Plenty of signs about not stopping in the road during the eclipse — which is one of my concerns — road shoulders had been mown, turn outs had been blockaded. Residents where I’m staying have been preparing for emergency conditions this weekend and plenty of fields have been turned into temporary camping sites.

But as of Sunday afternoon the roads and the towns were still empty. Will be interesting to see what the turnout for the eclipse winds up being and whether everywhere in the path of totality sees traffic or mostly just the hot spots.

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