Jimmy Buffett fans saved from Bristow traffic nightmare, Toby Keith fans not so much


Jimmy Buffett, dodging beachball hazards at Merriweather Post Paviliion in 2003. No additional hazards will be added to Buffett’s show at Jiffy Lube Live (aka Live Nation Disaster Hole) this weekend, besides the normal ones. (Kevin Clark/The Washington Post)

The plan to reduce a major intersection near Jiffy Lube Live (the outdoor live performance amphitheater also known as Live Nation Disaster Hole) to one lane this weekend has been postponed a week, Virginia Department of Transportation officials announced the other day. This will be something of a relief to Parrothead Nation, as 25,000 Jimmy Buffett fans are scheduled to descend on Bristow on Friday.

But the reschedule is bad news for Toby Keith Nation, as the country star’s own “Hammer Down Tour” is set for Jiffy Lube Live next Saturday. Anyone driving Route 29 for that show will only be putting the hammer on their brakes.

The big news here for locals is that a new  Route 29 crossing over the railroad tracks at Linton Hall Road is ready to be unveiled, and VDOT wanted to start shifting traffic to the bridge this Friday. Joan Morris, a VDOT spokeswoman, said the agency spoke to folks around Gainesville, where the intersection is located, and decided that creating a massive delay on top of the usual Disaster Hole backups, as well the weekend when students are returning to U-Va. on 29, could be postponed. But delaying another weekend, to help the Keith show, would put things to the Labor Day weekend, with more traffic, and VDOT really wants to get that bridge up and running.

Artist's rendering of the new interchange of Route 29 and Linton Hall Road in Gainesville, with the railroad tracks running beneath both roads. Sweet. (Va. Department of Transportation) Artist’s rendering of the new interchange of Route 29 and Linton Hall Road in Gainesville, with the railroad tracks running beneath both roads. Sweet. (Va. Department of Transportation)

“Enough with the collisions,” Morris said. A truck was hit by a train again just recently, she said, and “we want to get traffic on to this new safe bridge.”

The Post’s Dr. Gridlock says this new interchange should significantly improve traffic flow through that area at all hours, and who could disagree? It’s been a mess for years, particularly after the rash of development sprung up in that part of Gainesville, just west of Bristow.

So traffic on Route 29 and Linton Hall on the weekend of Aug. 24-25 should expect delays of an hour or so, at least, as the roads are cut to one lane. But you can still get to Live Nation Disaster Hole by I-66 and Route 15. Then you will, now and forever, still have to deal with the inevitable jam on the two-lane Wellington Road, the only entry to The Hole, followed by the overpriced beer and rigorous parking lot enforcement of the venue itself. Enjoy!

Toby Keith will bring his "Hammer Down Tour" to Bristow on Aug. 24, when traffic on Route 29 will be reduced to one lane. "Oh man, is there any other way into this place?" (Show Dog Nashville/UMGD)
Toby Keith will bring his “Hammer Down Tour” to Bristow on Aug. 24, when traffic on Route 29 will be reduced to one lane. “Oh man, is there any other way into this place?” (Show Dog Nashville/UMGD)
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.

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