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Traffic routes for BMS race week

March 11th, 2014 1:58 pm by Nick Shepherd

Traffic routes for BMS race week

In this Aug. 25, 2012, file photo, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race is run at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/CIA Bristol Motor Speedway, Andrew Coppley, Pool, File)

Bristol Motor Speedway is gearing up for the spring races coming up later this week. And all those race fans pouring into the area bring lots of traffic.

The city of Bristol, Tenn., Tennessee Department of Transportation and other agencies recently announced traffic management plans. This will be the first race weekend with Highway 11-E and Highway 19-E both work zone operational.

There is construction work taking place in Bluff City at the interchange of Highway 11-E and Highway 19-E. The traffic signal at Highway 11-E and Highway 19-E is gone. There are two new traffic signals, one on Highway 11-E and State Route 44 and one on Highway 19-E and State Route 44. Both will be manually operated during peak flow where appropriate.

There are six routes to get to BMS, the "Last Great Coliseum."

* Fans coming from Knoxville on northbound I-81 can exit at Tennessee Exit 57A, taking I-26 east to TN State Route 381 at exit 19 in Johnson City. This will lead to US 11-E and north to BMS.

* Another route for people coming from Knoxville on I-81 is taking Tennessee Exit 66 (State Route I26) or Exit 69 (State Route 394) and go through Blountville toward BMS. This is among the most heavily traveled routes to BMS.

* People coming from Roanoke or Wytheville on southbound I-81 are encouraged to exit at Virginia Exit 17 in Abindgon and then follow southbound Route 75 into Tennessee. Once in Tennessee, Route 75 changes into Tennessee State Route 44. When Route 44 intersects US 42 in Holston Valley, go north on US 421 and turn left on Tennessee Highway 394. This route will bring motorists into the dragway side of BMS, and there will be directional signs along this route.

* Those coming over Sam's Gap on westbound I-26 from North Carolina should exit onto Tennessee State Route 381 at exit 19 in Johnson City, which will lead to US 11-E and BMS.

* Fans coming from Virginia on southbound I-81 can also exit at Virginia Exit 3 in Bristol (Interstate 381), which will turn into Commonwealth Avenue in Bristol, Va,. and then into Volunteer Parkway in Bristol, Tenn. That road will lead directly to BMS.

* If you are coming from Elizabethon, officials advise the construction work in Bluff City will add about a half-mile of travel, and motorists need to allow extra travel time to go though the two new traffic signals.

There are various radio stations around the region that race fans can listen to for the latest traffic updates. Those stations are WJCW-AM 910, WFHG-AM 980, WMEV-FM 93.9 in Marion, Va., WXSM-AM 640, WNVA-FM 106.3 in Norton, Va., and WMVA-AM 1450 in Martinsville, Va.

There will be signs up for those motorists coming north from Johnson City but who are not traveling to the races on an alternate route.

The median opening at the intersection of Volunteer Parkway and Exide Drive just north of BMS will be closed no earlier than sunrise and remain closed the rest of the day during both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup race days, which will be Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The time of the closure will depend on traffic conditions. The median being closed means there will be no left turns or U-turns at this intersection from any direction.

Other median openings along Volunteer Parkway and Highway 11-E around BMS may be closed before the race, depending on traffic conditions.

There will be no parking permitted on the shoulders or medians of any roads around BMS. Vehicles parked in no parking zones will be towed immediately.

A portion of Sweet Knobs Trail will be converted into a one-way, one-lane eastbound road flowing toward the Vance Tank Road intersection, starting on Saturday morning until the Sprint Cup race is over Sunday afternoon.

There will be nine routes that will lead out of BMS and back onto Interstates 26 and 81 once the race has concluded.

* South on 11-E to I-26 exit 19 and I-81 to Tennessee I-81 Exit 57

* South on the US 11-E contraflow lane, which will be available to motorists exiting the south entrance and some westbound White Top Road areas only.

* West on Tennessee State Route 394 through Blountville to Tennessee I-81 Exit 66 or Exit 69.

* North on Bethel Drive from Exide Drive to Carden Hollow Road to Tennessee State Route I26 to US 11-W and then to Tennessee I-81 exit 74.

North on US 11 E to I-381 to Virginia I-81 exit 3 in Bristol.

* East on Tennessee Highway 394 to US 421, turn left onto US 421 then follow the signs to Virginia I-81 exit 17 in Abindgon.

* From the dragway, Sweet Knobs Trail, White Top Road and Sportsway Drive areas to I-26 exit 24 via US 19-E through the Chinquapin area and Elizabethton.

All of these routes are extensively signed for guidance.

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