BECKLEY, W.Va. — Transportation officials are making plans for the expected rush of traffic during the 10-day National Boy Scout Jamboree in July.
Officials said Thursday that plans were being made to use the West Virginia National Guard for traffic assistance. The Register-Herald of Beckley reports (http://bit.ly/13OYAHx ) that officials also are considering waiving tolls during that time to ease traffic congestion on the West Virginia Turnpike.
All construction that requires a permanent lane closure also would be suspended during that time.
Officials expect some 20,000 staff members to begin arriving ahead of the jamboree, which will run July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel Family Reserve in Fayette County. That's before buses begin bringing in thousands of Boy Scouts for the event.
"We're expecting a bus every 35 seconds at our tollbooths," the Turnpike's maintenance director, Jim Meadows, told the West Virginia Parkways Authority in a special meeting on Thursday.
Another 50,000 could gather at the complex, and Boy Scouts also will be fanning out in the region for a series of community service projects while they're in town, Meadows said.
"It's going to be a huge impact," he said, warning that another 50,000 are expected on that Saturday for the annual Friends of Coal car show.
Meadows said the 21-member maintenance crew will work split shifts. He said he expects U.S. 19 to back up onto the Turnpike.
"We don't think the road there can handle the volume," he said. "We anticipate it coming back on us."
The National Guard could provide assistance in flagging vehicles and helping with the congestion.
"If we have one bus per minute, we can deal with that," said Turnpike Manager Greg Barr, the governor's representative on the board.
On days where concerts and other events could draw even more visitors to the complex, "that could be a problem," Barr said.
"It's going to take a lot of coordination and people on their toes to make this thing go without a glitch," Meadows said.
This is the first year the jamboree is being held at the Summit Bechtel facility.
Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com