‘Be patient, have a plan;’ Heavy traffic expected around basketball, St. Patrick’s Day events

DAYTON — Drivers planning on traveling anywhere in Montgomery County, especially in the Dayton area, are being asked to plan ahead with several basketball events and St. Patrick’s Day festivities coming up over the next week.

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The combination of out-of-town visitors coming to Dayton for either the First Four or high school tournaments and St. Patrick’s Day is expecting to bring traffic headaches through the week.

“Its going to be busy there’s going to be a lot of people coming in, obviously depending on who’s playing if its local or not could change things. Be aware there may be delays on the highway, I-75, obviously Edwin C. Moses and Stewart Street around (UD Arena),” Dayton Police Traffic Services Supervisor Sgt. Gordan Cairns said.

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First Four events start this weekend and Cairns said drivers should plan ahead and expect road closures and heavy congestion downtown and in areas around the arena.

Teams will start to arrive in Dayton for the First Four Monday and that’s when drivers can start to expect the travel delays around UD Arena until the final whistle Wednesday night.

“So that’s going to be quite a congested area. If you can find maybe another route those particular dates to move around that might be a better suggestion to avoid some of that possible congestion,” Cairns said.

But with the First Four wrapping up Wednesday, police will deal with another major traffic enforcement day just the next day: St Patrick’s Day.

For Cairns and police the message to drivers is simple, plan ahead and don’t drink and drive.

“So we want to remind people if you’re making plans right now to go out and have a good time for St. Patrick’s Day one of the most important parts of that plan is how are you going to get home,” Cairns said.

“Do you have a rideshare? Do you have a designated driver? Are you going to stay at a friend’s house? Whatever it may be we just remind you just don’t go out drinking and driving because it can only result in tragedy.”

Following St. Patrick’s Day its right back to basketball for police, with the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s boys basketball tournament returning to UD Arena through next weekend.

In response to all the events and St. Patrick’s Day, officers across Montgomery County will be stepping up patrols. As part of the Dayton Service Initiative, multiple departments will increase officers on the road looking for reckless, distracted and impaired drivers, Cairns said.

Additionally, two OVI checkpoints will be operated in Montgomery County next week including one in Dayton on Friday, March 18, Cairns confirmed. The location and times of the checkpoint will be announced in advance.

“Be patient, have a plan, know where you’re heading to and plan out your route,” Cairns said.

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