Bonnaroo is scheduled to begin Thursday in Manchester, and that means the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Highway Patrol preparing for lots of traffic on I-24.

Tens of thousands of music lovers are expected to attend this year's festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday. This means traffic volumes will be increased near the festival site starting on Wednesday night. 

TDOT and THP said they have been working with the Manchester Police Department, Coffee County Sheriff's Department and festival promoters to organize a plan to keep traffic moving on I-24 while also making sure Bonnaroo attendees get to where they are going.

“TDOT has once again coordinated with our partners at THP and other agencies to ensure safe, efficient travel during the Bonnaroo festival,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “The main objective is to keep through traffic moving smoothly on I 24 while getting festivalgoers safely into and out of the Bonnaroo site. Because of advance planning, we feel certain that we can successfully minimize traffic delays throughout the weekend as we have in past years.”

Beginning Wednesday evening when the gates to the campground open at 8:00 pm CST, state troopers will be patrolling on the ground and by air 24/7.

If drivers need assistance, they can dial *THP (*847) at any time to be connected to a THP dispatch operator.

“The number one goal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is to reduce traffic related incidents and fatalities,” said THP Colonel Dereck Stewart. “I have emphasized a statewide priority to our captains the importance of working closely with TDOT and our public safety partners. So think twice if you are planning to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, because troopers and local law enforcement will be looking for you. Always wear your seatbelt, and do not drive distracted. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is committed more than ever to reducing crashes and saving lives on Tennessee roadways.”

Last year, troopers worked six traffic crashes. Some of those crashes had injuries, but none of them were fatal.

TDOT HELP will also be assisting with keeping traffic flowing and aiding drivers who need assistance.

TDOT and other agencies also plan to take the following steps during the festival:

  • 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 6 through 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 11.
  • TDOT also wants motorists to know that they can call 511 for traffic updates. Drivers can also visit the TDOT website for information about alternate routes.
  • 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.

For more information about traffic and alternate routes, visit TDOT's website. You can also call 511 at any time for the latest traffic updates.