It was a driver's nightmare after the eclipse came to an end and thousands of eclipse watchers headed for home Monday afternoon.

From Sweetwater to Lenoir City and West Knoxville, traffic was backed up for miles, and it took some drivers hours to get home.

"It's been two hours already," said driver Joyce Maxwell. "And we have about two more - if we're lucky - to go."

Those long lines of tail lights were bad news for eclipse viewers heading home.

Maxwell enjoyed the eclipse, but not the traffic afterward.

"We're gonna push through, turn up the radio and sing," said Maxwell.

Same for Alan Weiler, who drove down from West Virginia for the celestial event.

"I already sat for two-and-a-half hours from Athens so," said Weiler.

The traffic was something he had hoped to avoid.

"I had some idea," said Weiler. "I wasn't sure. Coming in it wasn't that bad, but I guess everyone else was here."

It's drivers like Joyce and Alan that TDOT Spokesman Mark Nagi and the rest of the department want to keep safe.

"Well certainly this was a day that we expected to see higher than normal traffic volumes and that's what we've seen," said Nagi.

TDOT monitors the roads from the Transportation Management Center where cameras are constantly giving them live information.

"If we do see some traffic slowdowns in some area, if there's a report of accident, if there's anything else going on, then we can keep an eye on that," said Nagi. "We can alert local media who can get the word out about that."

For a heavy traffic day like today, and every day, TDOT help trucks are ready to roll.

"They can help you with a flat tire, they can push a stalled car out of the roadway, which is obviously important on a high traffic day, if a car has run out of gas, they can come bring gas as well," said Nagi.

It's all to make drivers' experiences productive and safe.

"The big thing that the transportation management center is there for is to keep our roadways moving," said Nagi.

Nagi said TDOT treated today like Bonaroo or a Tennessee home game, with all hands on deck.