Thanksgiving shopping and Civil War to slow I-5 traffic this week

Thursday night travelers on Interstate 5 are urged to plan ahead, as heavy traffic is anticipated at the Woodburn Interchange.

There may be delays thanks to Woodburn Premium Outlets' "Midnight Madness," a 24-hour sale that begins Thursday night and runs through Friday.

Additionally, drivers are cautioned to plan ahead for traffic along I-5 due to the Civil War football game scheduled Friday at 4 p.m. in FILE PHOTO - Last year's Midnight Madness is indicative of the traffic nightmare the same event will induce at Woodburn Premium Outlets this Thursday night.

As travelers and shoppers converge on exit 271, Oregon State Police, OSP troopers, in conjunction with Woodburn police and Oregon Department of Transportation, will concentrate patrol, enforcement and traffic assistance efforts on a four-mile stretch near the FILE PHOTO - Last year's Midnight Madness sale has local law enforcement officials urging travelers and shoppers to be careful around the Woodburn Interchange and Woodburn Premium Outlets.

According to OSP, numerous citations were issued to motorists last year during a six-hour period for violations including illegal stopping/standing (cutting into the stopped lane of traffic) on the highway, failure to obey a traffic control device and other traffic-related violations.

ODOT also wants to assure visitors/shoppers that all lanes and ramps will be open for a six-week period starting Nov. 27. A contractor working for ODOT is currently in the first year of a three-year project to rebuild the Woodburn interchange and improve connecting roads. While there are signs of construction activity, there should be no additional delays.

Premium Outlet shoppers are encouraged to consider parking at the newly completed Woodburn Park & Ride/Transit Facility on the east side of I-5 on Highway 214. A free shuttle service is provided for those who wish to park there.

Safety reminders from law enforcement officials include:

* Stay alert and focused while driving at all times.

* If going to the outlet stores, approach the Woodburn exit in the far right lane several miles before the exit.

* DO NOT STOP in the center or left lanes to merge into the far right lane of traffic that has already developed to take the freeway exit. Proceed to the next available exit and turn around and proceed to the northbound exit which normally has much less back up.

* Keep a safe following distance at all times.

* Before leaving, plan on using a possible alternative route to travel to or around the Woodburn area.

*On Friday, football fans approaching the Woodburn Interchange (Exit 271) while heading to Eugene for the game should stay in the left lanes.

* Know before you go. Check road and traffic conditions on, or call 5-1-1.

Travelers are asked to report any possible intoxicated or dangerous drivers to OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or 9-1-1.

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