Coachella Valley, Calif. - The westbound exodus of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival-goers, spring breakers, and snowbirds combined with regular traffic to cause slow conditions on I-10 throughout the Coachella Valley on Monday.
This situation is just the first of three weeks of festivals that will bring tens of thousands of people to the area. Along with those people come thousands of cars on the road.
"It’s horrible, we have been in traffic for like an hour and we have only moved like 20 miles," said Christian Camacho who is driving back to Los Angeles after attending Coachella Fest.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: There have been several small accidents in the Varner and Vista Chino area that have caused a lot of traffic. We've also gotten reports of heavy traffic on HWY 111 in Cathedral City, as well as on HWY 111 and Racquet Club going out of town.
UPDATE 11:04 a.m.: Traffic continues to be heavy and slow on westbound I-10 as tens of thousands of people leave the valley. Avoid I-10 westbound Jefferson to Bob Hope if you can. Varner Road is a good alternate route.
UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: Heavy traffic reported from Indio to Palm Springs westbound I-10. Expect slow drive much of the day.
Traffic on Interstate 10 leaving the Coachella Valley is expected to be heavy throughout the day Monday.
"It's been really crowded, really, really crowded," said David Ngo, an attendee of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival,
"The crowd is bigger and it's harder to maneuver and get around," said another concertgoer, Victor Mousslaem.
Weekend one of the festival will end in the early hours Monday, sending well-more than 100,000 festivalgoers home. A majority of the traffic will presumably be heading west toward Los Angeles.
"I flew here from New York. I stayed in LA and then we drove up over here. We hung out in LA for a day and then we drove to Coachella and we're flying back tomorrow," Mousslaem told KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's Katie Widner on Sunday.
Mousslaem said he has a flight out of Los Angeles International Airport at 11 a.m. and that he plans to leave the Valley around 5 a.m. Last year, there was gridlock traffic at 3 a.m. after the festival closed down and it continued to be slow moving throughout the following morning.
"There's usually a lot of traffic in the mornings because all of the campers are leaving too," said a festivalgoer in a group of University of Southern California students who planned to be back in LA for class on Monday.
They said they planned to leave immediately after the festival closed, as people who are camping near the event have to be out by 10 a.m.
This year, the surge in traffic is in addition to the regular Easter crowd and spring breakers who flocked to the area for some rest and relaxation. There is also the California Department of Transportation's major construction project at the Jefferson Street interchange, one of the main arteries from the Empire Polo Fields where the festival is taking place, to the freeway.
However, Sgt. Dan Marshall, with the Indio Police Department, said at least part of the project is now open and the department plans to take full advantage while monitoring traffic.
"That means we can keep that northbound outgoing flow of traffic through the whole night, so that will reduce a lot of the pressure," he said.
Drivers are urged to use other routes, if possible, or to leave at a later time when traffic is less congested.
KESQ News Channel3 and CBS Local 2 will continue to monitor the traffic situation.