NASHVILLE – It’s festival time in Tennessee, and the nationally-recognized Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will soon take place in the city of Manchester, Tennessee.
Since its beginning in 2002, the four-day, multi-stage event continues to be one of the most popular live music festivals in the country every year, attracting thousands of attendees. To fully enjoy the varied lineup of performers and musical styles that Bonnaroo has to offer, people from all over the country camp out on a 700-acre Middle Tennessee farm, making it their temporary home for four days. As in years past, tens of thousands of music lovers are expected to attend the 2019 Bonnaroo festival, which kicks off Thursday night, June 13, and winds down Sunday night, June 16.
During the Bonnaroo Festival, the area in and around Manchester sees increased traffic volume as festivalgoers make their way into the festival site. As Manchester prepares to welcome a multitude of visitors, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are gearing up for the extra traffic expected in the area. TDOT and THP are working closely with the Manchester Police Department, the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and festival promoters to keep traffic moving on I-24 while also getting Bonnaroo attendees to their destination.
“As in past years, TDOT and THP have coordinated with local partners to make sure that traffic traveling through the Manchester area on I-24 can move efficiently, and festivalgoers are able to safely and quickly access the Bonnaroo festival site,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “Because of advance planning, we feel certain that we can successfully minimize traffic delays throughout the weekend.”
Bonnaroo will officially open its gates at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, to allow adequate time for vehicles to enter the general admission campgrounds. Tennessee State Troopers will be on-the-job 24 hours a day, beginning Wednesday evening, patrolling on the ground and by air. Also, drivers should keep in mind that if they need the assistance of a state trooper while traveling anywhere in Tennessee, they can simply dial *THP (*847) from their cell phone. They will be automatically connected to the nearest THP dispatch office and the operator will send a state trooper to their location.
During Bonnaroo 2018, Troopers logged nearly 6,237 man-hours, worked one traffic crash (a non-injury -property damage crash), and wrote 1,111 citations (moving 451, non-moving 660).
TDOT HELP units will assist with traffic management during the festival and will aid any motorists who require assistance. In addition to having HELP trucks on-site, TDOT and other agencies will be taking the following steps Wednesday through Monday:
• 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 a.m. Wednesday, June 12, through 7 p.m. Monday, June 17.
• 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.
During the festival, motorists should call 511 from any mobile or land line phone for traffic updates or visit the TDOT website at www.tn.gov/tdot where they can also find information on alternate routes. From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest traffic information and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras at www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. TDOT is also on Twitter. For statewide traffic tweets follow TN511 or for regional traffic information follow Nashville511, Chattanooga511, Memphis511 and Knoxville511.