Law enforcement preparing for traffic delays around Garth Brooks concert south of Branson
RIDGEDALE, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri Department of Transportation and Missouri State Highway Patrol are preparing for a large influx of traffic around the Garth Brooks concert at Thunder Ridge Arena throughout the weekend.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, it was estimated that 12,000 cars were in the area for the concert Thursday night. That number is expected to be between 20,000-24,000 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Tiffany Stephens was one of the lucky ones to see Garth Brooks on Thrusday night amid a crowd of roughly 12,000.
“It was perfect with the sun setting, and the air show was amazing, and of course Garth Brooks was awesome,” she said. “I think they’re going to have to have a lot of patience and time. We left the Hollister area about 2:15 yesterday and were inside the fan area by 3 o’clock.”
Following PBR last weekend, the concert is one of the first major events at the Thunder Ridge Nature Arena. Its limits are being tested with large crowds.
Going early for the concert, Stephens says, getting in was quick, but even leaving before the encore, getting out of the venue was a process.
“As we have an event like this that all of us have probably never seen at this magnitude, just working through those wrinkles that we’ve hopefully identified and can respond to those as this draws towards Sunday,” said Sgt. Mike McClure with MSHP. “It is a restricted entrance and egress, so you may be sitting in a parking lot for a while trying to leave after the concert. We just ask that people be patient.”
The Hollister School District released students around noon Fridayensuresure students could get home before crowds developed.
“So we knew with the gates opening earlier in the day that there was going to be traffic that was definitely going to impede or possibly impede our bus traffic,” said Kim Connell, communications director with Hollister Public Schools.
Thursday, a handful of school buses were delayed between 20-45 minutes, which Hollister administration feels solidified their decision to release early. The high school also has homecoming Friday evening as it hosts Logan-Rogersville, only adding to the traffic equation.
“Our band kids, cheerleaders, football players, those we know are going to need to be back on campus fairly early. We’ve made some accommodations for that if students were concerned they wouldn’t be able to get back amongst the traffic,” said Connell.
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