Authorities plan for busy weekend

With a host of major events today and Saturday, officials are urging residents to allot extra time to get where they’re going due to an expected influx of vehicular traffic and the likelihood of numerous pedestrians.
The Viva StarkVegas Downtown Block Party is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. today on Main Street, and a host of activities are scheduled on the Mississippi State campus most of the day Saturday leading up to Saturday’s season opening football game between the Bulldogs and the University of Memphis Tigers.
Heavy pedestrian traffic is likely downtown during tonight’s block party and at several restaurants and bars along University Drive today and during and following Saturday’s MSU football game, said Starkville Police Department Chief David Lindley.
“Some of the crowds we are accustomed to seeing on Main Street are becoming more frequently present on University Drive, particularly around Maxwell Street,” Lindley said.
“People need to be careful when they’re driving downtown and on University Drive to watch for pedestrians.”
Lindley said efforts are under way to improve lighting and a second crosswalk on University Drive near Maxwell Street to enhance the safety of the area.
Another area likely to see heavy pedestrian traffic on Saturday will be Russell Street around the Highway 12 intersection where the Comfort Suites Hotel is located directly across from the MSU campus.
“The Russell and Highway 12 intersection is becoming an increasing concern for pedestrian safety due to the number of people who park on Russell Street and walk to the stadium on home football game weekends,” Lindley said. “We will be monitoring the traffic in that area before and after Saturday’s game.”
Bulldog fans heading to the MSU campus for Saturday’s game need to be aware of a few changes that could affect traffic.
Three hours before kickoff, the f
following campus streets close and remain close until at least an hour after the game concludes:
• Creelman Street between Tracy Drive and Stone Boulevard.
• Stone Boulevard from Extension Drive to Bully Boulevard.
• Barr Avenue from Collegeview Street to George Perry Street.
In addition to the Block Party and MSU football game, this weekend is also an extended one due to Monday’s Labor Day holiday. With national and state statistics showing that the Labor Day weekend has one of the highest vehicular fatality rates of the year, local law enforcement officers will be out in force.
“We’ll be calling out a few extra deputies,” said George Carrithers, chief deputy for the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’ve got a busy, busy weekend across the community. We want everyone to have fun, but be careful.”
Officers and sheriff’s deputies will be cracking down on alcohol-related offenses during the weekend, including drunk driving and underage drinking.
The extended weekend marks the final three days of the current “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign coordinated through the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety. Seat belt enforcement will also be a focus, Carrithers said.