TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP — If you want traffic, you’ll find it in Monroe County this weekend, as NASCAR fans pile in for Sunday’s Pocono 400.
But police are trying something new to cut down on the congestion this year.
The cars running around the track may be moving fast, but if you’re trying to get to the raceway in Long Pond, it may be a slow go, depending on which roads you take.
This year, PennDOT and raceway officials are working to try to change that by directing traffic a little better.
Thousands of cars and RVs filled with fans are making their way to the Pocono Raceway this weekend, creating some nasty traffic troubles leading to the track.
Many fans here for qualifying say it was smooth sailing into the are right now, including Kathy Zanders and her daughter Michelle.
“Around 12, it was pretty quiet driving in today,” said Michelle Zanders of Lehighton.
“We never had any problems getting in, it just slow getting out, but once you get out on the highway, it was fine,” said Kathy Zanders of Lehighton.
Traffic on Interstate 80 usually gets heavy the closer it gets to race time. The big backups come along the back roads, Long Pond Road and the Mount Pocono Route 940 exits.
“For whatever reason, when they’re coming from the east, New York or New Jersey, or even coming down 380, they get off on that side, the Mount Pocono exits are off 380 and the roads just really can’t handle the traffic,” said Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky.
Now, the raceway and PennDOT are using these signs to help direct drivers to the Blakeslee exit off Interstate 80 instead. If you follow those electronic signs correctly, it should bring you to the Blakeslee exit off of I-80. You’ll hop on 115 south which the raceway says is the fastest way to get to the track this weekend.
Bron Hollend of Bangor came to the raceway with his friends and kids.They say they’ve sat through those big backups.
“Several years we would come out here and traffic was just, it was brutal,” said Hollend.
“I think it’s just people know the back roads and they know it can be quicker at times, and that’s why they go that way,” said Rob Owens of Bangor.
Officials at the Raceway hope the electric signs encourage more people to Route115 where traffic will be one way in all Sunday before the race, creating a better race day experience, avoiding hour-long bumper to bumper backups.
“It certainly helps, I mean it’s fan-friendly, and NASCAR’s such a great following, fans want to get in and out, with easy access,” said Hollend.
Those electronic message board signs should be up all weekend long for drivers heading to the Pocono Raceway. Look for them on I-80 as you get close to exit 284 in Blakeslee.