Tuesday, 29 September 2009

U.Va. announces plans to manage U2 traffic

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Thursday evening, more than 50,000 people will head to the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium as rock band U2 brings its 360° Tour to Charlottesville, the first concert at Scott Stadium since the Rolling Stones played there four years ago.
Although as many as 60,000 people descend on Scott Stadium at least six times every fall for home football games, and football game procedures form the basis of much of the logistics for concerts, a major weeknight concert also poses alone challenges, said Larry Wilson, general manager of U.Va.'s John Paul Jones Arena and an executive with SMG, U.Va.'s event management partner that played a key role in landing both U2 and the Rolling Stones in 2005.
Lessons learned from the Stones concert are guiding several new measures this time around, Wilson explained.
A helicopter and Virginia Department of Transportation cameras will monitor traffic flow on Interstate 64, allowing real-time updates to directions and messages that will be displayed on 25 electronic message boards placed along I-64, U.S. 29 and other roads leading into parking areas.
Based on the color of their parking permits, drivers will be routed westbound on the U.S. 250 bypass from exit 124 (Pantops) off I-64, as well as north on U.S. 29 from exit 118B. Those with black permits will be directed to use exit 120 from I-64 (Ridge Street), thereby distributing the incoming traffic among three of the four Charlottesville exits off I-64.
The message boards will be particularly helpful to out-of-town visitors, Wilson said. For instance, roadside message boards near exit 118B will direct all concert-goers except those with blue, gold and red parking permits to merge left at the bottom of the ramp, around the traffic waiting to exit onto Fontaine Avenue, and proceed to the next two exits off the 250 bypass (at Ivy Road and Leonard Sandridge Road).

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