FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fort Smith police say they are working with the event organizers to provide general protection and security as well as traffic control during the Steel Horse Rally.
According to Fort Smith police, Garrison Avenue will be restricted to motorcycles and emergency vehicles throughout the event to contain participants to the downtown area. Other traffic will be routed around the area, which spans from 5th Street to 13th Street along Garrison Avenue.
There will also be areas of Garrison Avenue that will be affected due to closures and detours for vehicles.
Garrison Avenue will be closed to all but motorcycles between 5th Street and 13th Street. The closures will last from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. Saturday to 2:00 a.m. Sunday.
Police say times may be adjusted depending on traffic flow and observation. Drivers may remain on Rogers Avenue until they reach South 5th Street, where they can move to Garrison and then head west into Oklahoma.
Drivers heading east into Fort Smith on the Garrison Avenue Bridge will be detoured at 5th Street. Drivers may turn south onto 5th Street, then east onto Rogers Avenue or north onto 5th Street, and then east on North A Street to bypass the closed areas.
Motorcyclists participating in the event may enter these closed portions of Garrison Avenue, where the far right eastbound and westbound lanes will remain open for the movement or traffic, according to police.
Motorcycle parking will be allowed at the curbside of Garrison between the closed portions as well as in the center traffic lanes. Fort Smith police emphasize motorcycles must be parked with the front tire on the yellow center line.
Police say all motorcycles must be removed from the center lanes of traffic before the avenue is opened for normal traffic at 2:00 a.m. They say any vehicles remaining in these lanes at that time will be towed at the owner’s expense.
A motorcycle procession will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday. The procession will begin at Fort Smith Park, head toward downtown on Riverfront Drive, and turn onto North A Street. The procession will continue east on North A Street until reaching North 10th Street, where it will turn to the south, passing Cisterna Park, and turn west onto Garrison Avenue and move into the closed portion of motorcycles only. The procession will travel to 6th Street where it will then loop back to the east within the closed portion of Garrison and end in the area of 9th Street and Garrison, where police say participants may park their motorcycles.
During the procession, traffic heading south on North 10th Street will be diverted to the east on North A Street. Police say traffic heading north on Townson crossing over to 11th Street should be unaffected.
Drivers trying to enter Oklahoma will still be able to do so by driving to Rogers Avenue and heading west to 5th, 4th, or 3rd streets, then heading over to Garrison. Traffic heading south on streets intersecting with North A Street from 2nd Street to 9th Street will be held up or turned around for alternate routes east and around the affected area.
The Fort Smith Police Department says it wants to ensure the safety of motorcycle riders and the general public during the event by reminding drivers to double-check traffic lanes before pulling onto any public roadway. They say motorcycles can be harder to see, but have the same rights to the roadway as any vehicle.