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Monday, September 16, 2019

Top Stories > General

‘On the Road Again'

Expect heavy traffic; police checkpoints throughout weekend

Aug 15, 2019

By Isabel Braverman - staff writer

By: Isabel Braverman | Democrat
Troopers say traffic congestion is expected on Routes 17 and 17B in Sullivan County Thursday through Sunday.
BETHEL - At the Woodstock Festival in the summer of 1969, close to one million people from all around the country made their way to the Sullivan Catskills, but only 400,000 actually made it to the now iconic music festival billed as “three days of peace, love and music”.
According to an article in the Daily News published on August 16, 1969, traffic was stalled for 17 miles along Route 17B from White Lake to Monticello, and state police had to close Exit 104 on the New York State Thruway.
The article states, “'The situation is hopeless and getting worse,' said one state trooper, who was futilely trying to unclog the massive jams.”
Local officials are hoping those traffic woes won't repeat themselves as they prepare for the 50th anniversary of the “Aquarian Exposition” to be held this weekend from August 16th through the 18th.
Troopers say traffic congestion is expected on Routes 17 and 17B in Sullivan County Thursday through Sunday. Traffic is expected to be particularly heavy on Route 17 westbound between the Thruway in Harriman and exit 104 onto Route 17B in Monticello.

Despite rumors, the county issued a statement that Route 17B will be open. “While travelers along Route 17B may encounter a New York State Police checkpoint during the Woodstock 50th anniversary weekend, 17B will remain open to ALL traffic (no travel passes necessary) unless there is an accident or other emergency requiring detours. That said, please avoid travelling Route 17B for the duration of this weekend unless you absolutely need to do so, as traffic is anticipated to be heavy.”
Peak traffic for westbound lanes is anticipated between 1 and 7 p.m. and for eastbound lanes between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. all four days of the anniversary concert weekend.
Traffic is expected to be the heaviest along Route 17B and officials encourage people to find alternate routes of travel if they are not planning on attending one of the concerts at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
At a recent press conference held at Bethel Woods, local officials said they expect around 100,000 visitors to the area throughout the weekend. Only those with tickets to the concerts will be allowed on the Bethel Woods site. So if you want to visit the museum or the historic marker you will have to go another time.
There seemed to be some confusion about travel passes. Bethel Woods announced that anyone with a ticket to one of the concerts must also have a travel pass to enter the roads leading to Bethel Woods.
Travel passes were mailed in advance, but if someone did not receive one they can pick it up at the box office before entering Bethel Woods.
The concert lineup includes Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band on Friday, Santana with The Doobie Brothers on Saturday, and John Fogerty (member of Creedence Clearwater Revival) with Tedeschi Trucks Band and Grace Potter on Sunday.
The parking lots and gates will open earlier than usual and people are encouraged to arrive early.
Other events will be held that weekend including the Yasgur Farm reunion and Callicoon PorchFest. Check local radio stations for traffic updates.
Bethel Woods is also holding more concerts with original Woodstock performers including Canned Heat and John Sebastian (member of The Lovin' Spoonful) in the future.

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