South Carolina transportation officials have shut down six rest areas along Interstates 26 and 95 on Monday afternoon after they quickly filled with visitors hoping to watch the eclipse.
Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Poore said the roads themselves seem to be fine as thousands of tourists descend upon South Carolina to watch the event. “The traffic on the interstates is moving very well,” he said. “The traffic volumes are up a little bit, but the speeds are continuing to maintain at a normal pace.
Agency traffic cameras showed backups occurring along Interstate 85 east of Spartanburg and along Interstate 77 south of Rock Hill as last-minute travelers tried to reach the totality zone before the 2:40 p.m. excitement.
SCDOT said the rest areas along Interstate 26 in both directions along Calhoun County and Orangeburg County are closed, as are another pair close to Santee along Interstate 95.
Poore said it appears people are setting up to watch the eclipse at rest areas. “I’ve been monitoring the I-26 East rest area in Calhoun County, and I’ve seen one person leave,” he said, chuckling. “A number of them have put out picnic blankets and whatnot under shady trees. So they’re obviously there to observe the eclipse.”
He said DOT will continue monitoring the roads Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning as thousands of solar tourists return home.