Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 28, 2013

Two Bluefields join forces

Police departments plan strategy for upcoming concert

BLUEFIELD — The police departments of the two Bluefields have been planning a new strategy designed to make sure that the jamming on stage during the Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginias concert won’t be followed by a traffic jam on Stadium Drive after the show.

“Chief (D.M.) Dillow and I met about two weeks ago to discuss ways that we could improve the situation, especially with getting people out of the Mitchell Stadium parking lot,” Chief Harry Cundiff of the Bluefield, Va., Police Department said. “When the concert is over, we will block all of the traffic coming into the area on Stadium Drive off of College Avenue.

“We’ll run both lanes of Stadium Drive out of the parking lot to College with the right lane turning right toward the Walmart and the left lane turning left toward Leatherwood Lane,” Cundiff said. “We’ll have our officers directing traffic at the intersection of Stadium and College, Bluefield, West Virginia officers will be at the intersection of College and Leatherwood Lane, and the Virginia State Police will be working with us at the intersection of Leatherwood and U.S. Route 460.

“Erik (Robinson) will be giving Lt. (Pete) Beavers a warning just before the end of the concert so we can get everything ready,” Cundiff said. “We have been wanting to do this kind of a thing for big events through the year like the Graham-Beaver or Beaver-Graham game. I think we can empty a parking lot pretty quickly.”

Dillow said that the Bluefield Police Department has also used its past experiences to develop a better plan to control the volume of traffic in and out of the concert venue. Along with personal vehicles parking in available spaces, shuttle buses will also be running from and to Graham High School.

“Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, we will close Stadium Drive at Bryant street to all traffic except people who live in that area,” Dillow said. “Stadium Drive on the west side of Bryant will be closed. Bluefield, Va., officers will be controlling the flow of traffic into the concert venue for VIP and other parking. Gates will open at 12 noon and the concert starts at 1:30 p.m.”

Near the end of the concert, Dillow said that officers will re-open Stadium Drive west of Bryant Street for people to pick up people leaving the concert.

Cundiff said that his department will maintain a presence at the entrance to Lotito Park with 8 officers on hand through the duration of the concert. Cundiff also said that in case of an emergency, the Bluefield College dome will be available for use.

“The more planning we can do, the better off we will be,” Cundiff said.

Both Dillow and Cundiff said that they hope the advance planning will help them make improvements to help get people who attend the concerts into and out of the concert safely and efficiently.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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