The annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will start Thursday night in Manchester and area officials are gearing up for a big traffic weekend.
As in the past, thousands of music fans are expected to attend the festival that starts June 8 and wraps up June 11.
The area in and around Manchester sees increased traffic volumes as everyone makes their way to the site. Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are preparing for this influx. Many agencies are working together to keep traffic moving on Interstate 24.
This year, Bonnaroo will open all its gates Wednesday night at 8 p.m. central to allow more time for vehicles to enter the campgrounds. State Troopers will be on site 24 hours a day patrolling on the ground and by air.
"We welcome the visitors that will be attending the Bonnaroo Festival," Colonel Tracy Trott said. "The Tennessee Highway Patrol is committed to reducing crashes and saving lives on Tennessee roadways. Our troopers will continue to take a zero tolerance approach as they enforce the laws during this event. We strongly believe that the efforts of THP along with TDOT and our public safety partners are contributing to reducing traffic related incidents and fatalities. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, always wear your seatbelt, and do not drive distracted."
Here are more details about the traffic plan:
Efforts will be concentrated on keeping I-24 traffic flowing
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 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7 through 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 12
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 communication towers are in place to improve emergency communications
Motorists are urged to call "511" from any mobile or land line phone for traffic updates or alternate routes, or visit www.tn.gov/tdot for more information.