‘A normal traffic day’: Monroe County Emergency Operations Center stays quiet for eclipse

Getting Home Safely

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s something we’ve been talking about for months; the traffic for April 8. The good news is there were no major mishaps to report immediately after totality.

Officials have been predicting hundreds of thousands of visitors for the day. Other cities reported that most out-of-towners leave within 1-2 hours after totality. So naturally, there was a concern for potential bottlenecking on the roads.

In Monroe County, the Emergency Operations Center was activated around 9 a.m. There was no state of emergency, but officials kept a close eye on the roads just in case traffic got backed up.

Representatives from law enforcement and EMS agencies all over town filled the room.

“This is exactly what the room is built for,” said Tim Henry with Monroe County Emergency Management.

Several live cameras were displayed on large monitors for all to see. Crews kept a close eye on main thoroughfares, highways, and popular spots for eclipse viewing. 911 calls remained steady throughout the day.

“We pre-positioned both drone vehicles, as well as cameras that we have at multiple locations where we think those chokepoints are going to be, so that’s the exit of all the folks from places like as far west as Brockport, SUNY Brockport, downtown Rochester, all along East Avenue, the lakeshore, down along Lake and Beach Avenue, so we’re going to watch the traffic exiting those,” said Henry.

County spokesperson Gary Walker said it was a normal traffic day, minus some backup on the thruway going eastbound, after totality.

The big priority was emergency response time. Officials said they were keeping a close eye on road conditions to ensure emergency vehicles could get to destinations properly.

The state even brought in four mutual aid ambulances to be stationed around the county, as a precaution.

Crews originally planned to head home around 9 p.m. but ended up calling it a few hours early.

The advice for drivers remained the same:

“Take your time going home, expect some longer lines, expect some longer commute times. Don’t rush it,” said Henry.

Henry said the county has been preparing for months, if not years, for the eclipse. Part of that entails learning from other cities who experienced full totality.

“What we learned, is that, virtually 90% percent of the people who traveled here, and enjoyed the event, are naturally going to leave within the first hour or two after the event. So that’s one of the reasons we tried to communicate out over the last several months is, to get to the location early, stay, enjoy it and let the traffic clear out after the event.”

Another reminder for folks: Don’t call 911 unless there’s a true emergency. A traffic jam is not a reason to call 911.