Be alert: Motorists advised to use caution in Weber City this weekend

Marci Gore • Oct 31, 2016 at 10:10 AM

WEBER CITY — Construction on a heavily traveled bridge, coupled with a nearby community event that is expected to draw thousands of people to Scott County, is prompting local law enforcement officials to advise motorists headed into Weber City this weekend to use extra caution while traveling in the area.

This year’s Hometown Festival, set for Saturday,is an event hosted by Holston View United Methodist Church and the its preschool and daycare program. The festival serves as a fundraiser for families who are dealing with serious illnesses. This marks the third year of the festival. Organizers say attendance increases each year, and a concert by country music artist Sammy Kershaw is expected to draw an even bigger crowd, with some estimates being as high as 10,000 people.

Last week, signs were put into place alerting motorists that work would begin to replace the Route 23 bridges over the North Fork of the Holston River in Weber City. During construction, there will be one 12-foot-wide travel lane in each direction. For the first phase of construction, north and southbound traffic will use the northbound bridge while the southbound bridge is reconstructed. The Virginia Department of Transportation estimates that the bridges carry more than 20,000 vehicles per day.

Michael Delano, chief of Weber City’s police department, said motorists should pay attention to the signs that will be in place the day of the festival.

“In addition to the extra traffic, we’re also going to see an increased number of pedestrians,” Delano said. “Drivers need to be courteous to the pedestrians as well as the other motorists that will be traveling in the area on Saturday. We are a mainline corridor with 26,000-plus cars a day.”

A small section of Church Street — which runs along Holston View United Methodist Church, off U.S. 23 North and intersects with Clonce Street — will be closed. Clonce Street, which runs behind the church, will remain open.

“Go slow. Use caution and watch out for the signs. We will have an increased presence of law enforcement in the festival area. The fire department, EMS and, of course, law enforcement personnel will be on the scene throughout the day. From a law enforcement standpoint, I want this to go as smoothly as possible. Weber City is very lucky to have this coming to our community. Scott County has never had a crowd of this size that is expected all in the same place at the same time. This is a first for us,” Delano said.

Festivities for the Hometown Festival will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the day and into the evening. Events will be held in the church parking lot, located at 174 Church St. in Weber City, and in the Holston Medical Group parking lot, located just below the church. The event will also feature a clothes closet for any community family in need. Blanket America will provide all the items for the clothing giveaway, which will be held in the old Food City building, next to Holston Medical Group.

Two separate concerts will provide the musical entertainment for the event. The Knight Family will kick off the first concert at noon, followed by country and bluegrass gospel music group The Isaacs. Later, Kelsey Cate will take the stage, which will be set up in the parking lot of Holston View United Methodist Church, and Kershaw will perform after Cate.