As the eclipse draws nearer, so do the tourists — and with them comes traffic. Residents traveling on Highway 26 east of Prineville Wednesday found themselves in the midst of heavy congestion, resulting in a backup estimated to be 14 miles long. In response, the Crook County Sheriff and Prineville Police Departme
nt worked with ODOT early Thursday morning to reroute traffic south on Combs Flat, on the eastern end of Prineville, from 3rd street to Paulina Highway.
People commuting east on Highway 26 are encouraged to use Laughlin Rd. and expect delays. The congestion is a result of the Big Summit Prairie
eclipse event and traffic is being rerouted until the highway is no longer backed up. Officials from the City of Prineville and Crook County Sheriff's Department are asking that if you're not attending the Big Summit Prairie eclipse event, to delay traveling Thursday or early Friday to ease congestion along the highway. Traveling will be easier
on the highway by late Friday as Big Summit Prairie travelers will already be at the event—but heavy traffic is still expected over the weekend.
If you do need to travel Thursday or early Friday, be prepared for heavy traffic by bringing extra snacks and water. Crook County operations and law enforcement are working with ODOT, emergency management, fire and EMS to keep roads safe, however your commute may still prove to be a test of your patience.
Most eclipse travelers will be reaching Central Oregon this weekend, and to keep from being stuck in long lines and shortages many people are stocking up on gas, food and other essentials before they arrive. Officials from Deschutes and Crook County are working together to organize the influx of visitors and are asking everyone to remain courteous, calm and patient during the event.