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Ohio didn't see major eclipse gridlock

COLUMBUS__The message from state officials was clear: Come early, stay late for last week’s solar eclipse. New data shows that most people did just that, avoiding the post-eclipse gridlock other states experienced.

Ohio Department of Transportation
Travel data from the Ohio Department of Transportation shows traffic volumes were up 12.8% on Sunday, fell by 4.4% the day of the eclipse, and increased again by 15.8% on Tuesday.

The biggest increase in traffic on Monday came on State Route 31 north of Marysville where traffic was up by 71.7%, US 35 west of Chillicothe with a 67.4% increase in traffic, and SR 14 west of SR 165 to the Pennsylvania border saw a 42.8% increase.

Within the path of totality, traffic on US 30 from Van Wert to Canton was up 13%, including a 53.4% increase west of US 224 near Van Wert. Traffic on US 23 between Chillicothe and Marion was up 11.5% with the biggest jump around Marion where traffic increased by 21.4%.

The state’s interstates also saw increased traffic. I-71 north of US 30 saw a 21.5% bump in traffic volume, I-75 in Perrysburg was up 22.6%, and I-70 saw a 15.7% increase between I-270 and US 42. Traffic on I-74 between Cincinnati and Indiana saw traffic surge by 14.8%.

On Tuesday, the entire I-70 corridor saw an 11.8% increase in traffic, the biggest bump in the Cambridge area where traffic volumes were up by more than 20%. Traffic on I-77 was up 11.1%, including a 20% increase in traffic south of Canton.

“This data shows that Ohioans and visitors did what we asked of them, and it worked to prevent a huge surge of traffic directly following the eclipse. I also commend our crews for their efforts ahead of, during, and after the eclipse. It really paid off,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

The data comes from more than 200 continuous traffic count stations across the state. Data was compared to the average traffic volumes observed on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays in April 2023.

Ohio Turnpike
Traffic volume across the Ohio Turnpike – a 241-mile toll road designated as Interstate 80, I-90 and I-76 – increased during the days leading up to, during, and after the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

The highest traffic volume increases on the Ohio Turnpike occurred on Monday, April 8, with 156,812 trips and Tuesday, April 9, with 162,381 trips. The Ohio Turnpike averages about 139,000 trips per day.

To accommodate the influx of travelers into the state, the Ohio Turnpike’s service plazas and participating vendors increased their hours of operation. Gasoline and diesel fuel inventories were increased.

“Many travelers indicated they chose the Ohio Turnpike’s 14 service plazas as their viewing destinations for eclipse because of ample parking, restaurant choices, and restrooms,” Ahmed added. “The parking lots were full. Our customers were all safely situated at the various service plazas to view the eclipse.”

Ohio State Highway Patrol
During the recent solar eclipse, the Ohio State Highway Patrol heightened its operations to safeguard both Ohioans and visitors. From Friday, April 5, through Tuesday, April 9, troopers conducted 16,285 traffic stops, marking a 27% increase from the same time frame the prior week. Additionally, troopers assisted 2,066 motorists by helping change tires, providing directions, and aiding motorists out of gas. Despite the increase in motorists on Ohio roads, provisional data shows that troopers also saw a 6% decrease in the number of crashes investigated compared to the same time frame the prior week thanks to the collaborative efforts of everyone involved.