Drivers should be wary of graduation night traffic pattern changes near WSCC

Hamblen County schools are letting out for summer and for seniors and their families that means graduation. The Hamblen County School System utilizes the Walters State Great Smoky Mountain Expo Center for both graduations; being held Friday, May 17, 2019.

Morristown Police Department officers and explosive sniffing dogs will be used before each graduation to conduct a safety sweep. Once the safety sweep is completed, the doors will open for attendees. Morristown-Hamblen East High will graduate first; doors open at 3:00pm for the 4:30pm ceremony. Morristown-Hamblen West High’s graduation ceremony will begin at 8:30pm; however, doors will open at 7:00pm.

The Morristown Police Department, Hamblen County Sherriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, White Pine City Police Department and Jefferson County Sherriff’s Department will be conducting traffic control for the ceremonies. The traffic pattern to get in to Morristown-Hamblen East High’s graduation will be as follows, traffic on southbound 25E will see message boards directing them; traffic for the graduation will need to stay in the right lane. After the Morristown-Hamblen East High graduation all exiting traffic will be directed toward Progress Parkway only.

Traffic for Morristown Hamblen-West’s graduation will enter from southbound 25E only. Attendees will see message boards directing them. Witt Road will be closed for incoming traffic to the Expo Center. West High graduates driving to the ceremony should have an identifying card or paper on their dash; this will identify them as graduates and they will be directed by officers where to park as soon as the parking lot is empty. Following the Morristown-Hamblen West graduation, all exiting traffic may exit either toward Progress Parkway or 25E.

After the graduation ceremonies, the MPD will be working at Project Graduation. The event starts at 10:00pm, with students arriving to the mall by midnight, and will last until about 6:00 am Saturday morning. Graduates must go through a security checkpoint to enter the event.

Prior to students’ arrival, officers and explosive sniffing dogs will conduct a safety sweep. Officers and other personnel will be patrolling parking lots during the event.