Thanksgiving holiday weekend safe travel urged on Oregon’s highways
Police and transportation safety officials are prepared for Friday’s “Civil War” game day and urge those traveling to or through the Eugene/Springfield area to do the same. Everyone’s game plan should include extra travel time, patience, use of safety restraints, alertness to traffic and road conditions, and having a sober driver behind the wheel at all times. In addition, those attending the game are asked to make the experience enjoyable for everyone, no matter what team you are rooting for.
According to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) estimates, more than 15,000 extra vehicles will be on Interstate 5 and roads leading to Eugene on “Civil War” game day, November 29. Football fans going to the game, coupled with the added Thanksgiving holiday weekend travelers and shoppers, will impact travel time and the potential for traffic-related problems on the freeway and secondary roads, including Highway 99W between Corvallis and Eugene.
State, county and local police agencies are already stepping up enforcement efforts, including the West Coast “I-5 Challenge”, as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Game day travelers should expect to see more police officers on the road, teaming together with ODOT and local transportation departments to help keep traffic moving through the area.
Stop and rest and refresh
Make sure to stop at one of OTE’s highway safety rest areas if traveling from the north or south. Santiam rest area (north of Albany) and French Prairie (near Wilsonville) are great places to unwind, stretch your legs, or grab a cup of free coffee. Even a short five minute walk around the grounds can help you refocus on the drive and the fun that’s up ahead. You can check out our rest area locations on the OTE rest area map.
Game day travelers are asked to keep these safety tips in mind:
* Have a game plan before you leave. Up to the minute road and traffic condition updates are available on ODOT’s travel information website at www.TripCheck.com or by calling 5-1-1. For anyone who can’t access 5-1-1, road and weather information can also be accessed toll-free within Oregon by calling 800-977-ODOT (6368).
* Be patient and alert so you can make safe driving decisions.
* Be aware of alternative routes in case your first travel choice is affected by traffic problems.
* Avoid distractions and keep your emotions in check while driving and when at the game.
* Buckle up and have a sober, rested driver.
In Eugene/Springfield area:
* Construction at the I-5/Randy Pape Beltline interchange has resulted in a significant change to the southbound Exits 195 A and B. Both exits use the same ramp. Motorists should carefully read the signs preceding the exit.
* Additionally, the Pioneer Parkway exit ramp from eastbound Highway 126 (Officer Chris Kilcullen Memorial Highway) will be closed for approximately 90 minutes after an Oregon game. Motorists traveling eastbound on Highway 126 are encouraged to take the Mohawk Boulevard exit and use Q Street to access north Springfield area.
If attending Friday afternoon’s game scheduled kickoff at 4:00 p.m., all fans are urged to conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous and non-offensive to those around them for the safety of fans, players, coaches, and officials. The university’s police chief urges responsible behavior for all fans.
“Safety is the most important part of a great game-day experience,” UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed said. “We ask everyone to be respectful, follow the stadium rules, and use good judgment regarding alcohol and personal conduct. Let’s keep the Civil War civil for fans of all ages.”
For those traveling on area roads, state, county and city police, along with ODOT, encourage reporting any traffic-related incidents and possible intoxicated or dangerous drivers by calling 9-1-1 or OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).