Ben Burke, District 6 Traffic Engineer for the Idaho Transportation Department, and Bruce King,Public Information Specialist for the Idaho Transportation Department joined Neal Larson on KID Newsradio to discuss how the Idaho Transportation Department is planning to deal with traffic and congestion during the Great American Eclipse.
Listen to the full interview below:
Just a little over two months ahead of the Great American Eclipse, the Idaho Transportation Department says they are doing everything possible to prepare for thousands of people descending on southeast Idaho.
“It’s been on our radar for at least two years,” Ben Burke, District 6 Traffic Engineer for the Idaho Transportation Department, told KID Newsradio.
The highly anticipated Great American Eclipse is expected to brings tens of thousands of people to the region, with some estimating as many as 500,000 visitors.
“We don’t have an official estimate for sure, but all estimations indicate there will be a great number of additional people, ” Bruce King, Public Information Specialist for the Idaho Transportation Department, told KID Newsradio. “We’re taking steps to do all we can to make it a good experience and have traffic safe and mobile and have people be able to go where they want to be and enjoy this event.”
Preparations for the two minute event include clearing roads of most construction projects and formulating teams of first-responders in the event of accidents.
“We’re going to do our best to try to open all the lanes on to the extent possible,” Burke said. “There’s going to be probably a couple projects that can’t do that.”
Some of the greatest areas of concern, Burke said, include US-20, the 119 interchange and several ramps in Rexburg, Idaho.
“We’ve seen that when BYU students come back from school, is there’s a lot of traffic wanting to use those ramps and they’re at stop condition at the bottom of the ramp and tends to back up onto the interstate or on to the divided highway and cause a potential for an accident,” Burke said.
King says many people have already indicated their plans to arrive early and stay later, there will be high volumes of traffic on the day of the eclipse.
“It could be pretty busy on Monday,” King said.
Cities in southeast Idaho where the eclipse will appear in totality include Rexburg, Arco, Idaho Falls, Victor, St. Anthony, Driggs, Dubois and Shelley, according to Eclipse2017.org