The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 17, 2013

Boy Scouts explain Jamboree traffic plans

By C.V. Moore
Register-Herald Reporter

MOUNT HOPE — Locals have long wondered just how the Boy Scouts of America plan to handle the movement of tens of thousands of Scouts to and from the National Scout Jamboree this July.

Located off a winding state road, the Summit Bechtel Reserve doesn’t border any major highways. And yet, 100 motor coaches of Scouts per hour are expected to arrive there beginning in the wee hours of July 15.

Here’s the plan. And by knowing it before the Jamboree begins, locals can minimize their travel hassles.

A contractor, Transportation Management Services (TMS), is tasked with moving the 35,000-plus Scouts with as little headache as possible. They aim to limit the traffic impact on the event’s immediate area as much as they can.

They have quite a bit of experience with such challenges — the company has handled transportation coordination for massive events like the Olympics.

Tom Rickheim of TMS says his best advice for local residents is to allow some extra time for commutes and to drive cautiously.

A couple of key road closures and lane restrictions should be kept in mind.

Peak times for traffic will be troop arrival day on July 15, troop departure day on July 24, and a stadium show on the evening of July 20.

On these days, the Glen Jean exit on U.S. 19 will be closed. Residents will still have access to W.Va. 16 via the Hilltop exit. The exit may be shut down at other times too, depending on flow.

During peak visitor hours, the West Virginia State Police will more than likely close one lane on U.S. 19 southbound approaching the Bradley exit.

State troopers will move traffic at 13 key intersections, lights and ramps during the Jamboree.

Heavy traffic days begin prior to the event itself. About 7,000 leaders and staff will begin arriving at The Summit on July 6 and continue to flow in throughout the week prior to the Jamboree, in their own vehicles or by bus.

Rickheim expects the 10th, 11th and 12th to be particularly heavy as an expected 200 additional cars per hour run through Turnpike toll booths.

Then things slow down for a bit until the troops arrive Monday, July 15.

The tightly scheduled arrival of buses at Bradley Crossing begins at 5 a.m. and continues through early evening.

The Jamboree’s main parking area is behind a Sunoco station on U.S. 19 at Bradley. An estimated 225 buses and 6,000 cars will be parked there during the event.

The BSA is creating a road on the property so that vehicles will enter and exit the lot at Days Inn on W.Va. 16.

Troops will register at the lot. Once they’re processed, they’ll get back on the bus and head for The Summit.

The buses will turn right on W.Va. 16 and head through Bradley to Mount Hope, where they will turn onto W.Va. 61 and arrive at the south gate of The Summit.

The trip will take about a half hour, all told.

Once buses drop the Scouts off at their campsites, they will exit the facility through Glen Jean and stay on W.Va. 16 as they head back to Bradley.

They won’t get back on U.S. 19 to limit the impact on traffic.

With the exception of a volunteer program that takes them into surrounding counties for work projects, the Scouts stay on site for the entirety of the Jamboree.

During those days of service, July 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23, about 160 buses will enter the site between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., load troops, leave by Glen Jean, and enter U.S. 19 southbound. All should be gone by 9 a.m.

Then visitor shuttles start cranking.

The biggest visitor day is predicted to be Saturday. Expect a lot of traffic on U.S. 19 that afternoon, as well as some increased bus traffic on W.Va. 16. Traffic backups are expected that night from 10 p.m. to midnight when a stadium show lets out.

The last period of heavy bus traffic is expected on troop departure day, July 24, from 5 a.m. to noon.

That afternoon beginning at 2 p.m., 1,000 cars per hour are expected to leave The Summit as staff head home.

— E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com