NY officials warn of major gridlock across state during total solar eclipse

The Great North American Eclipse is coming on April 8, and so are swarms of people.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists are expected to flock to New York to witness the once-in-a-generation occasion, likely causing major traffic jams in and around New York.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says travelers can expect high volumes of traffic as numerous eclipse-viewing events are being held. To reduce traffic, construction and lane closures will be paused during the eclipse.

"New York is ready to welcome millions of visitors, and my administration has been working hard to ensure everyone in the path of the eclipse can safely enjoy this rare event," Hochul said. "I encourage anyone traveling for this experience to plan on arriving early to their destination and staying late to enjoy all of what our state has to offer." 

Niagara County alone expects one million tourists to attend, according to The Points Guy, Clint Henderson.

Rochester is expecting 500,000 tourists, which is about double the city's population.


All drivers should prepare for a high volume of traffic over the weekend leading up to the eclipse and through April 9, officials warn, even though the NYC area will miss out on the chance of total darkness.

The FAA is warning travelers to expect delays and possible cancelations on the week of the eclipse. 

Driving during the eclipse

Travelers are advised to get to their destination early and plan on staying late to avoid the most traffic, allow for extra travel time and travel prepared with food and water. 

The New York State Thruway Authority released dos and don'ts for traveling across the interstate. 

  • Get to your destination early and stay late.
  • Add in extra time to get to your destination.
  • Don’t park on the shoulder of highways or stop in the middle of traffic.
  • Do not stand on the side of highways.

The path of totality runs from Jamestown through Rochester and then onto Plattsburgh, causing traffic hot spots in the northern and western parts of the state. 

 "We love that so many people are planning to come here to experience the eclipse, but we also don't want everyone to spend most of their trip stuck in traffic," director of state operations, Kathryn Garcia, said.

Eclipse hot spots

Here are popular destinations for the rare celestial extravaganza that will likely cause tons of traffic jams. 

Niagara Falls (Niagara County)

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 400 miles (7-hour drive)

Rochester (Monroe County)

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 340 miles (6-hour drive)
  • Rochester is expecting 500,000 tourists, which is about double the city's population.

The Finger Lakes (Seneca County)

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 250 miles (4 and ½-hour drive)

Buffalo (Erie County)

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 370 miles (6 and ½-hour drive)

Syracuse (Onondaga County)

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 260 miles (4 and ½-hour drive)

Lake Placid

  • Distance from NYC: Approx. 290 miles (5-hour drive)

Travelers are also warned to use proper eye protection during the eclipse.