As the Southeast Arkansas District Livestock Show and Rodeo continues through the end of the week, police are advising motorists to be aware of the potential for increased traffic on Dollarway Road.
“There’s a lot of traffic and a lot of foot traffic because of people parking across the street on the flea market parking lot,” Lt. Robert Roby said Wednesday. “We have officers out there directing traffic and will assist in stopping the traffic so people can get across the street, but motorists need to be aware of the fact that the traffic might back up.”
Roby said through Tuesday, there had been no problems and described the traffic flow as “moderate.
“It’s gone real smoothly so far,” he said. “There have been no problems.”
Sixteen police officers will be at the fair each night, along with reserve deputies from the sheriff’s department, and regular deputies.
“Usually, we divide the reserves up and half of them work at the fair and the other half work the parade, but this year, because of the increase in the crowds they’re expecting, we have got all of our reserves at the fair and regular deputies will work the parade Thursday,” Sheriff’s Department Operations Commander Major Lafayette Woods Jr. said.
In addition to the reserve deputies, Woods said three regular deputies will be on duty in the exhibit hall every night.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Greg Bolin is on the board for the livestock show and rodeo and said, so far, there have been no problems.
“We depend on the weather,” Bolin said. “We’re actually doing this a week later than we did last year because we try to time it close to the first of October. Friday night will be the big night because that’s Armband Night and Midnight Madness and if the weather holds, we should have some good crowds.”
Both Roby and Woods said they were not aware of any problems so far at the fairgrounds and said officers and deputies will be spending a lot of their time trying to continue that trend.
“We’ve broken our officers up into teams and they will walk the midway for a while, then work traffic,” he said. “We’re also checking the parking lots and the back gates to try and stop anybody from breaking into vehicles.”
The annual Rodeo Parade is scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. Thursday and Roby said there will be officers at every intersection from Harding Avenue to Barraque Street to control the traffic.
“They will probably be on station at 4 to 4:15 (p.m.), and around 4:30 (p.m.) or so, we will start shutting down the traffic,” he said.
Woods said six sheriff’s deputies will also be assigned to help with the parade, two each at Third Avenue, Second Avenue and Barraque Street to assist the city officers during the parade.