Crowds form at Height of Land in Roxbury on Monday morning ahead of the eclipse. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Getting there was half the battle. Thousands of Mainers and non-Mainers funneled through Maine’s back roads and highways over the last two days to make it to the path of totality.

More than 2,600 vehicles had streamed north through the checkpoint in York County by 1 p.m. Sunday as visitors came to see the eclipse, according to the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Even at 11 p.m. Sunday, as traffic dwindled to 422 vehicles, that was still 22% more than the same day last year.

The steady flow continued Monday morning when a little over 1,800 vehicles had passed through York County by 10 a.m., heading north to towns like Rangeley, Houlton and Jackman. That’s about 40% more traffic than at the same time last year, but less than Labor Day 2023, according to the turnpike authority.

“Our plan was to drive to the path of totality, but we didn’t want to deal with the traffic,” said Jaina Neri, 26, as she enjoyed the view from her lawn chair on Portland’s Western Prom.

The Maine Department of Transportation reported few issues on the roads, however, other than some drivers parking on the side of highways and shoulders – an ill-advised idea, Maine State Police had warned.

On some of Maine’s rural roads, congestion Monday was far from typical.

“Interstate traffic is still moving, but things have started to slow down on roads that head up north and west: Routes 4, 6, 26, 27, 201 … We’ve seen some 30- or 45-minute delays,” Paul Merrill, a spokesperson for Maine DOT, said Monday afternoon before the eclipse’s path had reached the Pine Tree State.

Merrill said he had not heard of any major crashes being reported.

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