CSP: Eclipse could cause never-before-seen traffic nightmare

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DENVER -- The Colorado State Patrol fears the rare solar eclipse on Monday will create a traffic event unlike any other in the state.

Law enforcement officials estimate as many as 500,000 vehicles will be traveling from Colorado to Wyoming on Monday morning to view the astronomical phenomenon.

The Colorado State Patrol is hoping to avoid a statewide traffic nightmare as Coloradans flock to the Cowboy State.

“We are absolutely expecting a substantial increase in traffic volumes,” CSP Major Tim Keeton said.

Keeton said the big concern for traffic will be along Interstates 25 and 76, and U.S. Highways 85 and 287.

The Colorado State Patrol will position task force teams of troopers, deputies, tow truck drivers and ambulances along those north-south routes.

“Everybody is up-staffing for this event,” Keeton said.

With the increase of traffic, experts said texting and calls from cellphones will be challenging.

Anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 vehicles will be heading north, according to estimates. Troopers admit the numbers are hard to predict.

“Our estimates are far greater than a holiday weekend,” Keeton said.

Officials are asking drivers to be patient and to keep their eyes on the road.

It is against the law to stop on highways to view the eclipse. Hot cars pulling over on the side of roads could cause grass fires, according to the CSP.

Troopers warned traffic will be heavy for the morning and afternoon rush in the Denver metro on Monday.

Nearly all police departments in the Denver metro area have been increasing staffing for the event, according to state officials.

The full eclipse will passing over Wyoming and Nebraska. It will pass partially over Colorado between 11:40 a.m. and 11:52 a.m.

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