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UDOT tells drivers to plan for extra traffic this weekend due to eclipse

Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 10, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Before you hit the road this weekend, you might want to plan for extra time in the car.

“When you have an event like an eclipse, it’s a very rare experience. There are going to be a lot of people who want to take that all in,” said John Gleason with the Utah Department of Transportation.

On top of that, Gleason said there will be 23 school districts and two universities on fall break.

“We’re expecting potential for delays on I-15, I-70, US-191, and US-89,” he said.

READ: Full list of eclipse viewing parties happening across Utah

You might have seen the UDOT signs above the interstate last week, warning drivers of eclipse traffic.

“We’re anticipating even more than 300,000 tourists in the state just for the eclipse,” he said.

The “Ring of Fire” eclipse will look its best in central and southern Utah near Bryce Canyon National Park.

According to park spokesperson Peter Densmore, 2012 was the last time the park was shadowed by the eclipse and that was to the west.

This Saturday morning, it’ll be above the famous mountain landscape.

“To have that juxtaposition of an annual eclipse with the already otherworldly landscape of Bryce Canyon, yeah, surreal is probably a good word for it,” said Densmore.

He said the 2012 eclipse brought in over 10,000 visitors. The problem is: the park has only one entrance to the north.

“We are really emphasizing and encouraging people to use the free park shuttle that’s going to leave from the shuttle station in Bryce Canyon City right there by Ruby’s Inn and that’s going to be the most reliable way other than the bike path,” Densmore said.

Densmore believes private vehicle parking could even reach capacity the night before on Friday. Regardless, he said there are still other gorgeous spots to admire the sight.

“Whether it’s the Dixie National Forest, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, taking Highway 12 east, all of that is within the path of the eclipse,” he said.