MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — By kick-off Thursday, 1,435 days will have passed since the last time WVU hosted a Thursday night game.
Fans, players, and coaches alike are hoping this one — hosting Baylor — ends with a better result than the 26-20 loss to Kansas State in 2014.
For law enforcement, they just hope the flow of traffic in Thursday afternoon isn’t too bad.
“The parking lots will be opening later in the day for tailgating and set-ups, but while those lots are being opened at the same time people are going to be trying to get out of town or go home from work and everything else,” Ed Preston said. “We’re going to put a lot of emphasis on trying to clear the lots and clear the parking areas of traffic so we can get attendees to the game into those lots before the game itself.”
That, certainly, could be a challenge. Businesses like Mylan are in heavily traveled areas that include Mountaineer Station and Ruby Memorial Hospital — precisely where commuters are trying to leave and where WVU fans are trying to go.
“If you can leave before 3 o’clock and avoid any of the areas around the stadium, you’d be better off for it,” Preston said.
Kick-off is at 7 p.m. — so leaving much later could result in a serious back-up.
“That means all your main routes like Patteson Drive, Mon Boulevard, your main arteries through town — they are going to be backed up,” Preston said. “They are going to be highly congested.”
Once Thursday’s tilt with Baylor comes to an end, Preston said it’s all about getting fans to the interstate.
“The main arteries are going be the ones that are flowing,” he said. “If you are on the side streets, you can plan on sitting for a while because getting the lots emptied and getting the folks out of town is going to be the priority.”
“We’ll be running double lanes up 705 up to the traffic circle coming off Willowdale.”
Preston said staying on main roads is good for everybody overall, but said it’s unlikely anybody will be able to truly avoid the jam.
“There’s going to be traffic delays simply because of the amount of people that are going to be here,” he said. “Everybody’s got to maintain their patience. Everybody’s going to wait in traffic.”