Traffic is sure to be a concern not only for visitors of Farm Technology Days at Walter Grain Farms, July 23-25, but also for residents of Lake Mills, Johnson Creek and the southside of Watertown.
“We try to minimize traffic by having multiple law enforcement in the area, but you are still going to have it,” said Patrol Capt. Jerry Haferman, Jefferson County Sherriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s Office has been planning how they will direct traffic at and around the Farm Technology Days site, just off of County Road A in Johnson Creek, for over a year. During the run of the show County Highway A will only be open to local residents. Traffic running from Lake Mills to Watertown will have to find an alternate route.
Their major areas of concern are the Highway 89 and County Road V intersection and the County Road V and County Road A intersection, both in Lake Mills and areas in the village of Johnson Creek.
“We are going to have six state troopers assisting us. We will have approximately six of our deputies there. The City of Lake Mills and the Town of Lake Mills are going to help out, the Village of Johnson Creek and the Jefferson County Highway Department will all be assisting,” Haferman said.
Police are suggesting those who can plan an alternate route do so and to avoid the area as much as possible.
“We are going to put a billboard up in that area near the roundabout on County Road A, south of Watertown and at the County Road Q and A intersection to warn people ahead of time.”
The busiest times will be in the morning from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and at 4 p.m. when the show closes.
“We are expecting 2,500 vehicles,” he said.
After the morning rush cars come to the show at a slower pace before another rush when the show closes.
Haferman said you can park about 650 cars an hour on average going in one entrance, but if that pace slows down traffic will be impacted.
On Wednesday for the first time ever the show will have extended hours until 7 p.m. Haferman said they are not sure what to expect for traffic on Wednesday evening.
Both Lake Mills and Johnson Creek are expected to be busy in the morning and afternoon hours. Police plan to wave traffic through at the four-way stop in Johnson Creek and by the railroad trestle.
“If you can avoid it, avoid it,” Haferman emphasized.
He will be speaking to and dropping off information about the show and road closures to affected neighbors on County Road A, where the road will be closed.
Every county learns a little from the last county that hosted the Farm Technology Days show when it comes to traffic, but Haferman said they don’t know exactly what to expect.
“By Tuesday we might say, ‘We’ve messed this up, now on to plan B.’ We don’t know…Even though you kind of follow what the county before you did there are different situations and traffic patterns,” he said. “You are always reinventing the wheel.”
In 2021 the show will be hosted at the Jefferson County Fairground.
“At least then we can look back and see what worked and what didn’t.”
Fire, EMS and first aid will all be located on site. Klement Towing will also be there just in case people get stuck or have issues.
There will not be any bussing in the area to the show.
Those who need handicap parking should park in the east lot. There will be handicap parking in all lots, but mobility cart rentals will be available in the east lot.
Wednesday is expected to be the busiest day of the three. On Tuesday one of the field demonstrations will clear an additional field that can be used for parking.
Tractor-pulled trams will circulate throughout the show and to and from the parking area to make it easier for people to get around.