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Eclipse Traffic Jams Up Roads In Central Oregon

Elayna Yussen/OPB
Oregon Eclipse Festival-goers make the most of the 20-mile traffic backup leading to Big Summit Prairie in Central Oregon. The Beaver State's roads are expected to face intense traffic in the lead up to the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

Eclipse watchers traveling by car have been running into big road delays in Central Oregon. Incoming traffic for the Oregon Eclipse Festival has backed up U.S. Highway 26.

Late Wednesday, traffic slowed to a crawl between Redmond and Prineville. Further east, cars were completely stopped 20 miles before the festival gate. Experienced festival fans didn’t seem to mind. They got out of their cars to toss frisbees, tap their packed food and drinks, and chat with others in line.

Gary Phan traveled from California to see the eclipse. He spent close to ten hours queued to get in.

“I got here at, like, six, seven,” he said. “Just people-watched. I went into the woods for a minute to do Qi Gong. I kind of dozed off a couple times.”

The backups caused headaches for locals driving in the area, and for some families and others traveling in. The road leading to the festival grounds at Big Summit Prairie has no restaurants and limited access to restrooms.

The festival expects an estimated 30,000 people and runs through Aug. 23.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting