First day traffic delays at Firefly Festival

 (photo courtesy Red Frog Events)

(photo courtesy Red Frog Events)

Heavy Firefly festival traffic forced DelDOT to shut two exits on Rt. 1 near Dover in an effort to alleviate backups.

The third annual music festival in Dover started loading in campers yesterday, in hopes of eliminating major backups that plague the festival’s first day last year. However, traffic trouble arrived early Thursday morning as thousands of music fans descended on the state capital.

Traffic got so bad during the Thursday morning rush hour that DelDOT closed both exit 104 and exit 98 that lead to Rt. 13 in Dover. Traffic was forced to take exit 95 south of Dover to Rt. 13 north.

Traffic monitors on site

Taking a cue from their experience handling NASCAR traffic in Dover, some of DelDOT’s Transportation Management staff are working remotely at a command post set up at Dover International Speedway. Traffic monitors will watch traffic inside the facility and outside on Dover-area roads. They’ll then be able to make adjustments like closing exits on Rt. 1 or changing message boards to direct drivers in the best direction to avoid traffic. 

The state has already closed Leipsic Rd. and Persimmon Tree Rd. near the speedway through Sunday night. 

While there are a handful of music acts performing Thursday, the major musical attractions will hit the state starting Friday. Festival organizers are optimistic that spreading out the arrival of attendees will reduce the major traffic headaches seen last year.

Last year’s attendance topped 65,000. This year, organizers are expecting as many as 80,000 people.

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