Eclipse tourists caught in traffic jams for hours

FESTUS, Mo. — Monday’s total solar eclipse drew millions of spectators across the country, with thousands traveling south of St. Louis to catch a glimpse of it. However, their journey was hampered by an unexpected challenge: bumper-to-bumper traffic that doubled the travel time for many.

The congestion was especially notable in the Festus area near highways 55 and 61, about an hour before the eclipse, where trips that normally take an hour extended to two. Even the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office found themselves overwhelmed, receiving numerous calls from travelers pleading for help to get the traffic moving.

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The situation didn’t improve much after the eclipse. Extreme weather specialist Chris Higgins experienced a post-eclipse exodus around St. Genevieve County, with his typical two-hour drive from Jackson, Missouri, stretching to nearly eight hours. Many gas stations en route were also reported to be running out of fuel, adding to the day’s challenges.

Despite the traffic jams and long delays, most viewers didn’t let these inconveniences dampen their eclipse experience. The most significant traffic bottlenecks occurred along the path of totality, a corridor about 115 miles wide that crossed through 13 states.

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