City addresses marathon traffic complaints

Photo credit: Facebook/ Newport News One City Marathon

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The inaugural One City Marathon took runners along Warwick Boulevard into several parts of  Newport News Sunday morning. Thousands of competitors showed up; in fact the marathon was sold out.

“It’s really neat that it unites our city, but it also really helps promote wellness for our city, which is hugely beneficial. It also gets our name out there, as Newport News and what we can do, and something we can be proud of,” said Newport News City Manager Jim Bourey.

A celebration at Victory Landing Park was held after the race.

Not everything went smoothly, though. City officials admit the traffic back-up on the James River Bridge was not part of their plan for the city’s first marathon. The course took runners up to the bridge. City spokesperson Kim Lee told they hoped to let vehicles through when there were gaps between runners. The problem was, that didn’t happen.

Lee released this statement:

We apologize for the issues some motorists on the James River Bridge experienced yesterday as a result of the inaugural Newport News One City Marathon. The marathon route took runners from Newport News Park, all the way through the city, ending at the Victory Arch in downtown. And, yes, the course did take runners across the foot of the James River Bridge. While we chose a course that had the least impact on travelers, we knew that the marathon would still affect some motorists.

In preparation for the marathon, we developed an extensive traffic management plan. Among other things, the plan called for motorists to be pulsed across the route by traffic wardens as there were sufficient gaps in runners. This was to occur not only at the James River Bridge, but everywhere along the 26.2 mile route where runners and vehicles would cross. Unfortunately, it appears as though that at the foot of the bridge cars were not allowed to move across the marathon route like they should have, causing a more-than-anticipated delay for bridge traffic. We apologize for the inconvenience this caused and we are addressing the issue to ensure that next year’s marathon will have less of an impact on travelers.

The inaugural One City Marathon and related weekend events were successful and well received by the vast majority of citizens and visitors alike.  However, we will be reviewing and assessing all of the weekend activities to identify ways we can improve the experience for runners, visitors, citizens, spectators and motorists and make it even better in 2016.

View the race results here.

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