A lot of cars and trucks enter and exit the Farm Progress Show during the three days of the show. On average, it’s about 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day. Getting visitors into and out of the show site safely and smoothly is the goal of the Iowa State Patrol.
Maj. Randy Kunert, field operations coordinator for the state patrol, helps oversee traffic planning for the Boone show site, with input from others involved.
“We have a great working relationship with the other agencies,” he says. “Well ahead of each Farm Progress Show, we meet with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Boone Police Department, Farm Progress Show representatives and our partners at the Iowa Department of Transportation.
“We review how things went at the previous show [two years ago]. We make modifications and adjustments needed in our traffic plan, to make sure we get everyone in and out of the event as quickly and safely as possible.”
First and foremost, pay attention
This year’s show is Aug. 28-30. Peak traffic times on roadways near the site are from 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
“Safety is our main focus,” Kunert says. “We want drivers to be attentive, especially as they start getting close to the show site. Put down your cellphone, pay attention to driving and be prepared for slow and stopped traffic.”
The patrol’s traffic plan tries to route traffic, so attendees do not have long periods of waiting to enter the show. But during the peak volumes, there will be times when traffic moves slowly.
“You’ll see signs directing drivers where they need to go, and we have officers directing traffic,” Kunert says. “We prefer that people don’t stop and talk to officers and ask for directions, as that slows things down. We want to keep traffic moving. Watch for signs telling where the parking is, and be patient and courteous to other drivers. That will really help keep traffic moving.”
Always display parking permits
If you have a parking permit, always display it in your windshield. That makes it easier for the patrol officers to see and direct you to the appropriate parking lot — especially exhibitors and vendors.
“Another thing we do to help the traffic flow is we fly our aircraft, as weather permits,” Kunert says. “An aerial view allows us to make adjustments faster, which allows us to keep traffic flowing.”
While Highway 17 at the Highway 30 interchange becomes a two-lane, one-way road into the show site each morning, and a two-lane, one-way road going out each evening, four-lane Highway 30 moves traffic fairly well.
“We only have the one-way traffic on Highway 17 entering and exiting the show during peak periods,” Kunert says. “There will be times during the middle of the day when Highway 17 will still be two-way traffic.”
Plan your trip by visiting website
The traffic committee encourages everyone driving to the 2018 show to visit the Farm Progress Show website at FarmProgressShow.com prior to their trip.
“We coordinate and list the preferred routes, depending on which direction you are coming from,” Kunert says. “It works better for everyone if people use the preferred routes, as that’s where we have staff. If people use other roads for travel to the show, they are on their own. We will have a map of the preferred routes on the website FarmProgressShow.com.”
Highway 169, a major north-south route west of Boone, has construction and repair going on this summer. The Iowa Department of Transportation says if that project stays on schedule, it’s anticipated it will be finished before showtime, depending on weather. Again, another reason to check the website first when planning your trip to the show.
ACRES OF PARKING: About 20,000 to 25,000 cars per day come to the Farm Progress Show.
The state patrol provides show day traffic updates on WHO radio. “We try to give the reports around 6:30 in the morning and again around 8 a.m.,” Kunert says. “We also plan to give at least one traffic information report in late afternoon, around 4 p.m., when we’ll talk about the exit plan and getting everyone out of the show quickly and safely.”
Running east-west across the state, Highway 30 is a logical choice to use to travel to and from the show. It’s two lanes each way, a four-lane highway. “But truly the best thing people can do is visit
FarmProgressShow.com,” he says.
“If they click on the ‘Attend’ tab and then ‘General information,’ we are putting driving directions there for everyone, based on where they are coming from,” he says. “That’s the best way to get travel information to plan your route to the show.”