Parkersburg Homecoming weekend to alter traffic
Closures for Half Marathon, fireworks
PARKERSBURG — You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you can’t have a Parkersburg Homecoming Festival or a pair of road races with participants numbering in the thousands without closing some roads and bridges.
Today, Second Street, where a number of vendors are set up, will be partially closed in the morning and fully closed by midday, Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said.
But the busiest day of Homecoming, by far, is Saturday.
Things get started first thing in the morning with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon and Two Mile Race.
At 6 a.m., the Juliana Street exit from U.S. 50 will be closed. Martin asks motorists traveling east on 50 to utilize the Fifth Street exit instead.
The Belpre Bridge will close for all eastbound traffic at 7 a.m. But motorists needing to cross between Belpre and Parkersburg during that time will be able to utilize the Memorial Bridge at no charge.
“Both bridges will be reopened for normal traffic flow no later than (10 a.m.) Saturday,” Martin said in a news release.
Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce asked people who need to drive in the downtown vicinity Saturday to plan accordingly.
“Be patient. Leave early,” he said. “We understand that it could be an inconvenience.”
The Homecoming parade starts at 12:30 p.m. Spectators are asked to gather along Market Street from south of 13th Street to Second Street.
Back on the river after many years of being launched from Fort Boreman Hill, the fireworks display is slated for 10 p.m. Saturday. Homecoming President Mike Cottrell said the time could be moved up if the weather forecast dictates.
“We will watch radar and adjust our timing accordingly,” he said, adding that any schedule changes will be announced on WNUS 107.1, where the soundtrack for the show will also be broadcast.
Sunday will serve as the rain date if the show can’t go on.
“We will be setting off close to one ton of explosives,” Cottrell said, estimating about 2,000 aerial shells will be used.
Because of the move back to the river, the Belpre and Juliana Street bridges will be closed again, starting at 9 p.m., Martin said. The westbound lanes on the Juliana Street Bridge will be open to pedestrians who can view the pyrotechnic display from there.
A safety zone has been established for a 750-foot radius around the fireworks barge, Martin said. Boats should remain north of the Belpre Bridge and south of the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers, he said. People can watch on land from within that area, however, including at Point Park.
“If you’re on land you’re good, but if you’re on water, you’re not,” Martin said.
The Belpre Bridge will be reduced to one eastbound lane from about 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday to accommodate the boom dropping ducks into the river for the Rubber Ducky Derby. Event director Woody Miller said there will be short intervals before and after the scheduled 6:30 p.m. drop where both eastbound lanes will be closed.
Parkersburg Police and other local, federal and state law enforcement will have an increased presence in the downtown area throughout the weekend, Martin said. In addition to law enforcement, a host of other city employees help make the Homecoming, the Half Marathon and related activities possible, the mayor said.
“Our street department, all of Public Works, the electric shop, really all the guys have been dedicated to the support of the events, Friday through Sunday,” Joyce said.
Weekend Road Closures
* Second Street will be closed partially this morning and completely by midday.
* 6 a.m.: Juliana Street exit from U.S. 50 closed
* 7 a.m.: Belpre Bridge closed; no toll on Memorial Bridge
* 7:30 a.m.: Multiple intersections around the route of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon and Two Mile Race closed
* 10 a.m.: Belpre Bridge expected to reopen
* 2 p.m.: All streets expected to be open, except Second
* 9 p.m.: Belpre and Juliana Street bridges closing for fireworks show at 10 p.m.
* 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Belpre Bridge reduced to one lane eastbound for Rubber Ducky Derby, with some full closures expected.