LIMA — It’s not only monster truck time this weekend; it’s monster traffic jam time.
The 28th annual Lucas Oil 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals makes its annual visit to the Allen County Fairgrounds beginning today. The event is Allen County’s largest: More than 35,000 people will visit the area for the show.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is in the middle of a major reconstruction of Interstate 75, from the Allen/Auglaize county line north to state Route 81. The state also is reconstructing the state Route 117/309 interchange with I-75. Traffic on the east side and the interstate often is restricted to single lanes and delayed on routine days.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, fairgrounds and Jamboree officials are teaming up to better accommodate traffic and move it through construction.
“We’re working closely with the fairgrounds and ODOT to give folks different directions on how to come in, depending on whether you’re a participant, vendor or spectator,” said Emily Boden, spokeswoman for the Jamboree. “We’re trying to give people different routes to come in, different exits they should use, to avoid the area as much as possible. The changes are going to be better. In the long run, it will be fantastic.”
The Jamboree organizers have communicated with participants, vendors and the public through a website, emails and social media about the traffic changes, Boden said.
Here’s what you need to know to successfully navigate construction and the Jamboree this weekend:
• Jamboree participants are asked to use exit 124 (Fourth Street) from I-75, which will better accommodate trucks and trailers.
• Jamboree spectators are asked to use exit 125 (state Route 117/309). Spectator entry into the Jamboree will only be permitted from state Route 309 on the north side of the fairgrounds.
• Extra signs will be placed throughout the construction area to help facilitate the movement of traffic. Electronic message boards specifically for the Jamboree will be placed south of the state Route 65 interchange for northbound I-75 traffic and north of state Route 81 for southbound I-75 traffic.
• Motorists should be aware of equipment crossing over the northbound I-75 entrance and exit ramps at state Route 117/309, which will continue during the next few weeks. Law enforcement remains in the area to assist with traffic monitoring. Traffic will not be stopped, but flaggers may slow traffic to allow equipment to cross.
• Motorists should be aware all entrance and exit ramp merge areas have been shortened throughout the project area. Drivers on I-75 are encouraged to use the passing lane through the zone if they do not wish to exit. Signs advising this have been placed throughout the project area.
• All traffic on state Route 117/309 is one lane in each direction in the eastbound lanes. A two-way, left-turn lane begins at Saratoga Avenue.
• Work to install drainage components continues on the north side of state Route 117/309 during daytime hours between Willard Avenue (Speedway) and Belmont Avenue (Kmart). The construction zone is expected to be extended to Bowman Road beginning Monday.
The Jamboree runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Advance tickets are available at Chief Supermarkets and the day of the shows at the gate.
For details about the event, visit www.4WheelJamboree.com. For traffic details, visit www.odotlima75.com.