10/12/06 — City ready for airshow traffic snarls

View Archive

City ready for airshow traffic snarls

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 12, 2006 2:05 PM

Go ahead and preset your favorite radio stations. Or maybe you would prefer a good mixed tape or CD.

Wings Over Wayne is almost here -- and so is the heavy traffic associated with the annual airshow.

Goldsboro police Capt. Al King estimates thousands of cars will make their way onto Seymour Johnson Air Force Base sometime Sunday, via Berkeley Boulevard.

"I think traffic will filter in during the course of the day," he said. "But we're expecting about 70,000 people to attend the show. So, you're talking about 35,000 vehicles on base."

Gates will open to the public at 9 a.m., but King said he doesn't anticipate major delays that early in the day. But as church services come to an end, traffic problems along Berkeley will likely begin, he added.

"We expect an influx between noon and 2 p.m.," King said. "That's probably going to be our busiest time before the end of the show."

The end of the show will result in the most significant delays and inconveniences, he added.

"At 4 o'clock when the Thunderbirds stop flying, you're going to have 35,000 vehicles trying to get off base," King said. "And we've got, probably, about an hour span in which we're trying to get those vehicles out. Hopefully it will run out like we planned it."

The plan was completed by the Goldsboro Police Department with help from the N.C. Department of Transportation and N.C. State Highway Patrol.

After the show, all the traffic signals along Berkeley, from the base gate to New Hope Road, will blink yellow and law enforcement officials will be helping to move traffic along, King said.

"Between 3:30 and 5:30, there will be tremendous traffic out there," he said. "Folks who are not going to be attending the airshow, just be aware that this will be going on and that there will be some traffic inconveniences."

Wings spectators will be allowed to exit the base through three gates this year -- Berkeley, South Slocumb and Oak Forest -- King added.

Still, the heaviest traffic is expected on Berkeley as out-of-towners make their way back home via U.S. 70.

"If you're going for a bike ride, I wouldn't go down Berkeley Boulevard at 4 o'clock on Sunday," King said.