Rhinelander sheriffs office recommends detour for Hodag traffic

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- Country music fans heading to the Hodag Country Music Festival in Rhinelander will need to put aside extra time while commuting to the grounds this week. While part of Stevens Street is closed, Highway 8 and 47 is getting changed into a roundabout. Tyler Young with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office said that the construction is making Rhinelander roads a little congested this summer.

"This year and the next couple of years is kind of unique because of the construction going on in one of the major through affairs in Rhineland, Steven’s Street. So a lot of the routes are not accessible anymore so that concentrates the country fest traffic to basically three routes,” Young said.

Detours toward Highway 17 have been made to help traffic, turning vehicles onto River Road to get to the grounds. To help with the left turn the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has extended the protected left turn light from 20 seconds to 40 seconds.

Additionally, detour signs were posted by Hodag organizers and the dot on Tuesday.

Young said the main reason for the recommended detour is to keep big trucks and campers out of packed city roads.

"That's what brought the map on is the concern of the campers spending so much time on residential surface streets, trying to make tight corners, parked cars on the sides of the street, down to one lane makes it very difficult,” Young said.

Young says the problem will be on-going the next couple of years as Stevens Street will be closed down next year while the next phase of construction starts. Officials ask that you plan extra time when traveling, slowdown in construction areas and be patient with drivers hauling big campers.

While the festival grounds opened on Saturday for people to set up camp, Rhinelander is expecting most of their traffic in the next few days as the music starts on Thursday. The Hodag Country Music Festival is expected to bring 30,000 travelers into Rhinelander this year.