ITD using tool to track traffic for solar eclipse

The agency hopes to help the public make informed decisions about where to go or not go.

BOISE - Hundreds of thousands of people will be hitting the road to make their way into the path of totality, which includes several communities in Idaho and Oregon. If you’re still asking yourself where should I go or should I go? The Idaho Transportation Department is working to make that decision a little easier with traffic counters.

ITD has placed around 20 traffic counters along interstates and highways in the Gem State, as well as areas in the path of totality. The counters will allow the agency to get a count of how many cars are going into a specific area. ITD is going to make that information available to the public through messaging boards, social media, and their website.

“Provide them information so they can make good decisions,” Bill Kotowski with ITD said. “If you're planning on going up Highway 21, well is it starting to fill-in early, when is it filling in.”

The information will allow people to make an informed decision on where to go and where maybe not to go.

“We really just want to do everything we can to help the public make an informed decision about how to get there, when to get there, and when to leave,” Kotowski said.

ITD will start gathering the data on Thursday and will post it once or twice a day until Monday. On the day of the eclipse, the information will be updated hourly.

“We're going to know which roads were busy, which ones were at capacity with people coming in. So it will help us prepare for the outflow,” Kotowski said.

AAA is advising people to plan ahead; they’re expecting 6,000 roadside issues a day, like flat tires, between Idaho and Oregon.

“Six-thousand a day, which is what we would normally see on par with a typical winter weather event. So we're preparing for something that may be catastrophic and hopefully it won't be,” Matthew Conde with AAA said.

All those calls will be based on priority.

“Certainly we're moving things that are blocking the flow of traffic are going to take a higher priority over somebody who may be locked out of their car,” Conde said.

Both ITD and AAA do expect there to be a ripple effect for days before and after the eclipse.

Idaho State Police is bringing down troopers from areas of the state not in the path of totality to help with patrols for this upcoming weekend.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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