Bumper-to-bumper traffic was the theme early this week in Northeast Georgia counties hosting eclipse watchers, but law enforcement said Tuesday afternoon it was starting to reach normal levels.
Apart from a few fender-bender incidents, most of the issues in Rabun County were centered around the volume at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, where 10,000 tickets were sold for the viewing party Monday.
“The biggest issue was getting that many people from the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School campus back to their parked cars in Clayton. That took about two hours for the bus to run and get back to the people,” Rabun County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Shane Watts said.
The county was unable to get cell-on-wheels units to boost cellphone service, causing some sporadic interruptions in certain areas.
Watts and Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said traffic was heavy before and after the eclipse, extending until roughly 10:30 p.m. Monday night.
“It just seemed like everybody stopped when the eclipse was going on. There wasn’t a car on the road. It was kind of eerie,” Terrell said.
The traffic continued being heavy Tuesday morning and afternoon, but Watts and Terrell said it was getting back to normal.
Terrell said cell service “went way downhill,” to the point where he couldn’t reach some of his units stationed in Rabun County.
The Rabun County Convention and Visitors Bureau previously told The Times about eclipse watchers from across the U.S. and from countries such as Mexico and Germany.
Rabun County Deputy Tony Parrish said he met with a couple from Boston who drove down Thursday evening.
“They said everybody treated them well, and everyone had a good time,” Parrish said.
Terrell said he saw mostly Florida license plates and tags from metro Atlanta counties.