EUGENE, Ore. -- Franklin Boulevard from downtown Eugene to the Interstate 5 bridge was backed up for hours Thursday as University of Oregon students moved into the dorms. Hundreds of vehicles were seen bumper to bumper.
University officials said this was the biggest single move-in day yet with an estimated 2,700 students checking in.
Along with the record number of students, officials said other factors also contributed to the heavy delays and backup. This includes COVID-19 safety protocols like verifying student vaccination status. The university also gave staggered check-in times throughout the day for students in each of the residence halls. But officials also believe some families came in early, causing more traffic jams.
Parents driving their students to check-in weighed in.
"This traffic is unbelievable, but I guess it's a little expected when thousands of students are moving in getting ready to start their school year," UO parent Melissa DeFrancisco said.
Some students were seen leaving cars in the middle of traffic and walking to the check-in location on Franklin Boulevard and Agate Street just to get to their check-in appointments in time.
One of those students was incoming freshman Isabella Ponce.
"We've been stuck for about an hour so it's kind of crazy," said Ponce. "I think almost everyone is moving in today just because of how move-in works. So I'm going to try and walk and see how that goes."
Some drivers were not trying to check in for move-in and ended up being stuck in traffic unknowingly.
Sophomores Sophie Kirkwood and Anne Armstrong were trying to get to their sorority house when they were at a standstill on Franklin Boulevard near the intersection of Hilyard Street.
"I've never seen traffic like this and I'm a sophomore," Kirkwood said. "It seems like we haven't even moved an inch."
Other sophomores also said their check-in process last year for move-in was a lot easier.
"This first day looking at traffic and the foot traffic on campus, it's just crazy," sophomore Sam Galyen said. "Eugene infrastructure, the roads are kind of iffy. They don't allow the best flow of traffic, but I guess the university could have done more over more days."
University officials said some students in band and the Clark Honors College moved into dorms prior to Thursday.
Campus police did get involved to patrol traffic and additional staff were added in to expedite the vaccine verification process.