The Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are working alongside Manchester authorities to keep traffic flowing on Interstate 24 while thousands of fans flock to Coffee County for the 11th Annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
The festival kicks off on Thursday night and continues through Sunday, though organizers are opening the gates on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to allow more time for vehicles to enter the campgrounds.
"Keeping traffic moving on I-24 while getting festival goers in and out of Bonnaroo is an enormous challenge for both TDOT and the THP," said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. "Through advance planning and coordination, along with years of experience, we will minimize delays as much as possible throughout the weekend."
State Troopers are scheduled to be on site 24 hours a day beginning Wednesday night, patrolling on ground and by air.
THP helicopters are also assisting in relaying important information to marked patrol cars and motorcycles on the ground.
"State Troopers will be out in force, working to control the congestion caused by Bonnaroo, and aggressively enforcing state traffic laws," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. "It is our goal to ensure the safety of both travelers and festival-goers."
Officials said Exit 111 will be used as the main festival exit, while exits 97, 105, 112, 117 and 127 will be used as alternative exits if congestion begins to occur.
TDOT is also expected to provide variable message signs to warn drivers of any delays.
Also for the first time, the speed limit on I-24 near the festival area will be reduced to 55 miles-per-hour for the duration of the festival.
Festival traffic will also be kept in the right lane or on the shoulder of the interstate, allowing through traffic to utilize the left travel lane unimpeded.
During the event, motorists can call 511 from any mobile or land line phone for traffic updates or visit the TDOT Web site.