MANCHESTER, Tenn.- The Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are preparing for extra traffic generated by the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester.
More than 80,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which begins Thursday.
Officials expect most traffic to arrive on Interstate 24 on Thursday.
TDOT and the THP work with Manchester police, the Coffee County Sheriff's Office and festival promoters to control traffic.
"Safe and efficient movement of all traffic in the Manchester area is our main objective again this year," said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely, in a news release. "Through a coordinated effort, we worked with multiple agencies to ensure both Bonnaroo festival traffic and through traffic kept moving last year. While there were periods of heavy traffic, I-24 continued to flow uninterrupted throughout the festival period. It was a great success and we hope to see that again this year."
State troopers will patrol and control traffic on Interstate 24 for 24 hours a day beginning Wednesday night. THP will work on the ground and in the air.
"As in the past, we have worked very closely with TDOT, local law enforcement agencies and festival promoters to get ready for this year's festival," said THP Col. Mike Walker, in a news release. "Our main goal is keeping I-24 clear and accident free and ensuring the safety of both travelers and festival-goers. Troopers will be out in force not only working to control the congestion caused by Bonnaroo, but also aggressively enforcing our traffic laws."
In 2006, troopers logged more than 6,400 man-hours and worked 17 traffic crashes and wrote 300 citations and 7 warnings.
TDOT said that HELP units from TDOT's Chattanooga and Nashville offices will also be in the festival area to assist with traffic management and to help motorists.
Between Wednesday and Monday, June 13-18, agencies will concentrate on keeping interstate traffic flowing.
The following will also be enforced during the festival:
* Exit 111 (SR 55) will be used as the main festival exit. Exits 97, 105, 112 (temporary exit on westbound side only), 117 and 127 are alternate exits if congestion occurs on the interstate.
* TDOT maintenance units will be posted throughout the festival region, and maintenance personnel will be on call all weekend.
* TDOT will provide variable message signs to warn drivers of delays.
* There will be no construction-related lane closures on I-24 near the Bonnaroo festival area between 3 p.m. June 13 and June 18.
* Median crossovers will be guarded to prevent motorists from parking in the crossovers and blocking emergency vehicles.
* Festival traffic will be kept in the right lane and/or on the shoulder of the interstate, allowing through traffic to utilize the left travel lane unimpeded.
* Emergency vehicles will use county roads that will be kept at low volume.
* Bonnaroo promoters issued early news releases to the trucking industry and other sources to alert the traveling public to festival times, location, and alternate routes.
* Temporary communications towers are in place to improve emergency communications.
To view a map of Bonnaroo detour routes, click here. The information can also be found on the TDOT Web site at www.tennessee.gov/tdot.
For traffic updates, festival motorists should call 511 from any mobile or land line phone or log onto the TDOT SmartWay Web site at www.tennessee.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/.