CENTRAL POINT — Drivers in the immediate area of the Jackson County Expo following the conclusion of Tuesday's Red, White & Boom fireworks show should plan for area congestion and delays while vehicles head for the exits.
After the final multicolored booms light up the Rogue Valley sky, nearby traffic signals will be adjusted to deal with the exodus of cars, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. Peninger Road, the main access road to the Expo, will be closed to incoming traffic for more than an hour so vehicles can exit the parking lots at a quicker clip.
During that time, anyone trying to get back to the Expo to pick someone up will not be able to.
"This is a very specific ending time when everybody leaves all at once, so it takes a little bit more of an effort," said sheriff's Sgt. Julie Denney. "We're just trying to let people know ahead of time so they can plan ahead."
During that temporary closure to incoming traffic, Peninger Road will be turned into two one-way routes for exiting vehicles. Attendees leaving from the facility's north parking lots will be directed toward Upton Road, while attendees exiting from the south parking lots will be directed toward East Pine Street.
"It's going to be divided in half from the fairgrounds, two lanes from each direction, so we can funnel as many vehicles as we can," Denney said.
The traffic light at the East Pine Street intersection will have the timing adjusted to also allow for more drivers to exit, which is expected to cause traffic delays. There will be traffic control at the Upton Road intersection, which does not have a signal.
The gates for the event, held at the Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road in Central Point, open at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.
Parking will not be allowed along Peninger Road nor on the shoulder along Interstate 5, though some motorists might be tempted.
"That's a big no-no," said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming, who added the freeway shoulder will have barrels to discourage motorists from parking there.
Oregon State Police will also patrol the area, Leaming said.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.