Bonnaroo seeks road improvement as contract discussions continue - WSMV News 4

Bonnaroo seeks road improvement as contract discussions continue

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Bonnaroo draws tens of thousands of fans every year. (WSMV file photo) Bonnaroo draws tens of thousands of fans every year. (WSMV file photo)

If you've been to Bonnaroo, you know the line to get in. Traffic backs up for miles every year as cars slowly make their way to the festival.

Reps for Bonnaroo are looking to address that stress. It's happening just as negotiations get underway for a new contract between the festival and the county.

"I think the county, city of Manchester and city of Tullahoma are very comfortable with Bonnaroo being here," said Rush Bricken, chairman for the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee.

He said Bonnaroo has been a big annual employer for locals, provided big economic boosts and put the area on a national stage. As contract renegotiations begin, reps for Bonnaroo are seeking improvements to the stretch leading fans to the festival, New Bushy Branch Road. A proposal looks to expand the two lanes to three, one of them a turn lane. Another lane for people walking and biking would also be added.

"It should double up on their road capacity right there," Bricken said. "The backlog of county roads when Bonnaroo is here can be a bottleneck."

Bricken said, if passed, money Bonnaroo brings into the county general fund would be directed to the widening of the road. Reps for Bonnaroo told News 4 they want the road widening to be a step toward more big events year-round.

"I think it's certainly fair," Bricken said. "We have no other corporate citizens in our county contributing to road projects. So, this is a little unique, and it seems mutually beneficial."

The road widening is estimated as a $6 million project. Reps for Bonnaroo said the cost would be a partnership between the festival, Coffee County and TDOT.

Reps are making a pitch about the plan to the county commission Tuesday night. Bricken said depending on reaction to the proposal, something might be decided in January.

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