The Tennessee Department of Transportation will send “HELP” to the Tri-Cities this weekend in an effort to assist with heavy traffic expected on Tennessee roadways as a result of the “Battle at Bristol” college football game at Bristol Motors Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 10.

All construction lane closure activity will be suspended from Friday, Sept. 9, until Monday, Sept. 12.

The game, between the Hokies of Virginia Tech and the Volunteers of the University of Tennessee, is sold out. The Bristol Motor Speedway holds 160,000 people.

Very high traffic volumes are expected to pass through East Tennessee during the weekend, affecting interstate highways, state routes, and local roads near the game venue. TDOT will provide four HELP trucks to patrol the area and assist motorists on I-26 and I-81 from 12 noon Saturday through early Sunday morning.

TDOT HELP trucks are equipped with four-wheel drive, push bumpers, top-mounted arrow boards, emergency work lights, air compressors and other tools. Operators can perform a variety of functions, from clearing a stalled car off the roadway to changing a flat tire.

In addition to HELP operations, TDOT will provide the following traffic control measures:

  • Maintenance units will be available throughout the region to assist motorists
  • Portable message boards will be posted to warn drivers of any possible delays

For post-game traffic, TDOT will close one lane of I-40 West at the I-40/I-81 interchange. This will provide traffic leaving the game on I-81 South and traveling toward Knoxville two lanes of easy access to I-40 West. Message boards will be used to advise motorists of these changes.

Any motorists not attending the event are asked to plan ahead and avoid the area if possible.

Bristol, Tennessee sits along the Tennessee/Virginia state line in Sullivan County. The cities share a common downtown area. The speedway is on the southwest side of Bristol, Tennessee, along U.S. 11E.

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Watch the field being set up on the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol Construction cam.