FAYETTEVILLE - As Bridge Day approaches, local authorities are making sure every preparation is in place.
Several agencies involved with the annual event gathered for a meeting Wednesday in Fayetteville. They discussed safety measures and last-minute details. Officials hold planning meetings every month and meet weekly in October as Bridge Day approaches.
"We try to coordinate the best we can,” explained Sergeant Kenneth Tawes with Gauley Bridge State Police. “It's not just one agency that could pull this off - we need everybody."
More than 18 agencies are working together for the annual event. They help make Bridge Day a “well-oiled machine,” according to Chief Ranger Jeff West of the New River Gorge National River. He explained most of the agencies have worked together at the event for years. “Most of the time if it's some kind of tweak that needs to be done, it's a minimal sort of thing that happens behind the scenes. Nobody ever even notices,” he explained.
Metal detectors will be a new addition at the gates, according to Tawes. “We're always updating our security plans and we're going to try that this year."
To aid with traffic flow, police advise motorists to avoid driving near the New River Gorge Bridge on Saturday if they do not need to be in the area. Tawes recommended driving through Charleston and up I-79 if necessary. Detours will be at the same locations as the past 12 years.