Washington State Patrol troopers will be out in force this weekend monitoring increased traffic on the highways during Water Follies.
Special speed and DUI emphasis patrols are planned today through Sunday.
Troopers also will be closing the main entrance to Columbia Park off westbound Highway 240 from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to ensure the safety of pedestrians during peak traffic.
Aggressive, erratic and impaired drivers will be tracked this year using the Washington State Patrol DUI Aerial Response Team, said Lt. Jason Armstrong.
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It's the first time that DART will be deployed in the Tri-Cities. It has proved to be effective in other areas of the state, he said.
The Mobile Impaired Driving Unit, which was used during Follies weekend last year, also will be out to help troopers process DUI drivers.
The unit is a large recreational-type vehicle equipped with holding cells and three breath-test instruments. Troopers will staff it so those on patrol simply can drop off suspected drunken drivers and the troopers inside can process the paperwork.
It typically takes about 90 minutes to complete the paperwork and take a driver to jail, but the unit helps get troopers back on patrol quicker.
Troopers from Walla Walla, Sunnyside and Yakima will be working in the Tri-Cities to help with congestion around Columbia Park because of the influx of race spectators.
Motorcycles and unmarked patrol cars will also be out looking for speeders on Interstate 82 and Highways 240 and 395.
The main entrance to the park will be closed to incoming traffic for a couple of hours after the races are done Saturday and Sunday to help keep things safe as race fans leave the park.
Vehicles won't be allowed to stop on the shoulders of Highway 240 to watch the races, drop off or pick up spectators.
Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said the best thing spectators can do is to make plans in advance for how to get home. The best bet is to use Ben Franklin Transit shuttle buses, he said.