COLUMBIA, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Department of Transportation crews started warning drivers last week to prepare for heavy delays during the solar eclipse. Drivers didn't let the threat of bumper to bumper madness detour them from capturing a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"Coming out of Charlotte and downtown it was bad, but once we got out of Charlotte it was not bad at all. We were there right after 9am," said Allan Woodlief, who traveled from Houston, Texas.
Woodlief was able to avoid a 10 mile backup on I-77 near Rock Hill Monday morning. The mess was captured on SCDOT traffic cameras.
Others weren't so lucky though, they hit heavy traffic just outside of Columbia which forced them to stop where-ever there was a free spot.
"Hectic, but we found a parking lot. It was bank I think and it was closed and right across the street was the police station and we put our chairs out and just waited," said Nita Trublood who traveled from Apex, North Carolina.
FOX 46 Charlotte was there as drivers exited I-77 just outside of Columbia when day turned night. Many of them pulled off to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the show in the sky.
"We were sitting there and it was 10 minutes before total solar eclipse, and I was like what do we do? Lets just drive north cause we can't see anything anyway," said Mike Praw, who traveled from Michigan.
As soon as daylight returned, it was a race to the highway once again. I-77 was quickly jammed within minutes of the solar eclipse ending.
DOT crews in South Carolina did shut down from rest stops for a brief period of time, when too many cars filled the parking lots.