2012-07-14 / News

Festival traffic will jam roads

By Charles Prince

HEBRON – If you are a Hebron Kroger shopper, you should do your grocery shopping early next week.

That’s the advice Hebron Police Chief James Dean gave village council members at their Wednesday night meeting.

Up to 40,000 music lovers are expected to attend the 16th All Good Music Festival & Campout July 19- 22 at Legend Valley. This is the festival’s first year at the former Buckeye Lake Music Center. The festival is moving here from northern West Virginia.

Festival traffic will be the heaviest on Thursday, July 19 and Sunday, July 22. Planners expect the heaviest traffic Thursday will be arriving via westbound I-70. That traffic will take the Hebron exit at Ohio 79. The right lane of Ohio 79 to the eastbound U.S. 40 exit will be reserved for festival traffic. Hebron Police will reserve one lane of U.S. 40 for festival traffic to the Kroger store. The single eastbound lane beyond Krogers will quickly be jammed with All Good traffic.

A single lane of festival traffic will head east to a right turn on Licking Trails. A request to turn that section of Licking Trails into two-lanes southbound to the festival entrance was rejected by Licking Township Fire Company Chief Mike Wilson. He insisted that the northbound lane be kept open for emergency traffic since Ohio 13 south of I-70 will also be jammed with festival traffic.

All Good traffic will travel 1.4 miles on Licking Trails over I-70 to the main festival gate. The total distance from the Ohio 79 exit to U.S. 40 to the gate is 4.4 miles.

The festival gate opens at 11 a.m. Thursday, but the entrance route will likely be jammed long before then as festival goers try to get an early start to avoid long waits.

Beacon writer Scott Rawdon attended last year’s festival in West Virginia. He said the last four to five miles to the festival was also single-lane, with waits of three to four hours common. Cars are inspected before entering the grounds which further slows traffic.

All Good traffic arriving via eastbound I-70 will exit at Ohio 13. Most will camp between Licking Trails and Ohio 13. The main stage will be east of Ohio 13.

Traffic on Sunday won’t be as heavy as Thursday as festival goers will likely leave throughout the day. Music ends at 7 p.m. on Sunday, but the festival gates will be open until noon on Monday, July 23.

Tentative exit plans are to use Licking Trails northbound to a right on U.S. 40 to a right on Ohio 13 in Jacksontown to I-70. The gate on Ohio 13 would also exit to northbound Ohio 13 to I-70. Dean believes Ohio 13 could jam up quickly which may trigger a reroute of Licking Trails exit traffic to left on U.S. 40 back to Ohio 79 and then I-70.

Music starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday and runs to 5 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It starts again at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. The festival boasts of more than 50 hours of music. The featured Allman Brothers Band performs from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“Festivarians,” the term used on the All Good website, are encouraged not to leave the site during the long weekend, though it is permitted. The website says everything they could need, including beer and cigarettes, will be available on-site.

Special duty Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers will have primary traffic control responsibilities. Licking County Sheriff’s Office special duty deputies will assist and be present on-site along with festival security.

The Licking Township Fire Company will staff its No. 1 station in Jacksontown 24/7 during the entire festival. All Good is providing its own emergency medical staffing and expects to be able to treat most emergencies onsite with their own medical team.

Wilson is staffing the station 24/7 to minimize the effect of the additional traffic on response times. He does expect runs to treat ‘festivarians’ before they arrive or as they leave.

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