The 2014 football season kicks off this weekend for both University of Oregon and Oregon State University, so the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation urge football fans and other game-day travelers to start planning now for the upcoming season.
According to ODOT, an estimated 30,000 additional vehicles converge on Interstate 5 and roads leading to Eugene and Corvallis when home games occur on the same day for UO and OSU, as is the case for their first games this Saturday.
Even though kickoffs are scheduled at different times, traffic heading south to Eugene may encounter departure traffic from Corvallis, with possible heavy congestion between Albany and Eugene. The extra traffic will also join Labor Day holiday weekend travelers, affecting travel time and increasing the potential for highway incidents and crashes.
According to the Corvallis Police Department, about 80 percent of traffic leaving the Corvallis area after a home football game does so by traveling east or west on Philomath Boulevard, and it typically takes 2 - 3 hours to facilitate traffic flow after games. Game day changes for the Corvallis area will again include:
* Signal timing adjustment on Highway 34 to allow more traffic to pass through intersections.
* After an OSU game, motorists at the South Bypass will be restricted from turning west into town but will enjoy a dedicated right turn lane to travel east onto Highway 34.
* Motorists on the Van Buren Bridge traveling east on Highway 34 will not have to stop at the intersection.
In the 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. Motorists should carefully read the signs preceding the exit.
* 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.
* After Labor Day, highway construction work on Interstate 5 south of Cottage Grove will reduce traffic to a single lane in each direction for ten weeks. During that period, motorists should plan extra travel time and anticipate congestion and delays during peak travel times, including game days.
OSP, ODOT, and local law enforcement partners offer these simple safety tips and reminders:
* Start putting together your traveling game plan now before the season starts
* On game day: leave early, be patient and alert so you can react to sudden stops in traffic, quick lane changes by other vehicles, and leave plenty of distance between you and others on the road
* Keep current on road and travel conditions by visiting TripCheck.com, calling 5-1-1, and listening for radio traffic-related news and updates
* Drivers: avoid distractions and leave talking or texting on mobile devices in the hands of your passengers
* Buckle up every trip, every time
* Have a sober, rested driver behind the wheel of your vehicle before and after the game
State, county and city police along with ODOT encourage reporting any possible intoxicated or dangerous drivers by calling 9-1-1 or OSP dispatch at 800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865).