Monday, November 30, 2009

Civil War Game safety responsibility

With football fans in Oregon and around the country focusing on Eugene for the biggest ‘Civil War' football game in state history, police and transportation officials urge Thursday travelers to stay focused on their game day driving and stadium behavior.

According to ODOT, a sold-out Autzen Stadium puts an estimated 12,000 – 15,000 extra vehicles on Interstate 5. The extra traffic-related congestion affects travel time and increases the potential for traffic problems on the freeway system and secondary roads, including Highway 99W between Corvallis and Eugene.

Oregon State Police (OSP), Lane County Sheriff's Office and Eugene Police Department (EPD) have a game plan in place to handle traffic problems, including stopping aggressive and dangerous drivers on Interstate 5 and secondary roadways leading to and from Eugene and Autzen Stadium. ODOT and local transportation departments will work with police agencies to help keep traffic moving smoothly through the area.

"Leave early and be patient, pay attention to traffic conditions, and keep your emotions in check while driving and when at the game. Fasten your safety belt and have a sober, rested driver behind the wheel of your vehicle before and after the game," said OSP Superintendent Timothy McLain.

ODOT incident responders will be on the road, available to help throughout the day in the Eugene/Springfield area. ODOT wants game day travelers to be aware of a couple roadway changes that will affect traffic:

* Pioneer Parkway exit of Interstate 105 will be closed for an hour after the game to help control Springfield area traffic. A variable message sign will be posted at the exit and in other locations to advise drivers of potential problems or travel changes.
* Construction on the new Willamette River Bridge replacement has led to a closure of the Franklin Boulevard on-ramp to southbound Interstate 5. The detour will be signed but it will affect fans leaving Eugene for points south.

University of Oregon Department of Safety (UOPDS) leads law enforcement efforts inside Autzen Stadium, in conjunction with EPD and other agencies. UODPS Director Doug Tripp stresses that most game attendees conduct themselves appropriately; however, some fans make poor choices and have to be removed from the venue. On average, ninety (90) fans out of more than 59,000 are ejected for a variety of alcohol, conduct and ticket related violations.

"The safety of the players, coaches, officials and fans is our top priority for each game and we need everyone's cooperation to make it successful," said Tripp.

State, county and city police along with ODOT encourage reporting any possible intoxicated or dangerous driver by calling 9-1-1 or OSP dispatch at 800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).

Up to the minute road condition updates are available on ODOT's travel information web site at or by calling 5-1-1. For anyone who cannot access 5-1-1, road and weather information can also be accessed toll-free within Oregon by dialing (800) 977-ODOT (6368). From outside Oregon, the long distance number, (503) 588-2941, remains available.

Previously released shuttle and parking information is provided in the link with this release and also available at .

### ###

No comments: