|There are no shortage of WSU fans on our staff and in the state,|
and they're all excited for ESPN's visit to Pullman this Saturday.
A Crimson and Gray wave is headed to Pullman Friday night and Saturday morning as ESPN's Gameday broadcasts from Washington State University. So, anyone traveling in the area should be prepared.
What's all the fuss?
For those of you who don't bleed crimson and gray, Saturday's broadcast is the culmination of a 15-year campaign – 15 years! – to bring the popular football preview show to Pullman. As part of those efforts, a traveling WSU flag named Ol' Crimson has appeared at 216 consecutive Gameday broadcasts across the country. The flag is express mailed to each week's location by a band of Coug alumni and boosters who chronicle the efforts on Facebook and Twitter. This Wave the Flag movement has become an intense source of pride for Coug fans.
|Fans heading to Martin Stadium in Pullman this weekend should expect heavier than normal traffic both on the trip over and on Pullman streets as ESPN films there early Saturday morning and the Cougs play the Oregon Ducks in the afternoon.|
So, as soon as ESPN finally made Coug dreams come true, WSU fans from all over began scrambling to get to Pullman. The 4:30 p.m. football game pitting No. 25 WSU against No. 12 Oregon is sold out and every hotel room on the Palouse is booked. (This weekend is also the nearby University of Idaho's Homecoming game).
Have a game plan
So, what should you do if you're joining the WSU fan festivities – or just planning to be in the general vicinity?
- Watch the clock. Allow yourself extra travel time. With a large number of fans headed to town, roads could easily become congested. Expect a large number of RVs on the road as well.
- Know your routes. There are several ways into Pullman; plan your trip carefully and have alternate routes planned. Those coming from Spokane, for example, can take backroads into Pullman. (See graphic)
- Prepare for some (traffic) interference. Bridge deck replacement work on SR 26 has the road closed in both directions near Othello. The marked detour adds just 15 minutes to the normal trip most westside Cougars take to Pullman – though this could be more during those peak football traveling times. So, you'll want to factor the closure into your plans and travel times.
|A detour on SR 26 near Othello will add an extra 15 minutes to one of the main routes to Pullman this weekend. With heavier than normal traffic expected please factor the detour in your travel plans.|
- Expect a late night/early morning blitz. Due to East Coast broadcast times, the Gameday segment starts shooting at 6 a.m. Saturday in Pullman. That could alter normal travel patterns, with some fans heading over very late Friday night and others heading to Pullman in the wee hours of the morning. Be prepared and, if you can, delay travel during these times.
- Don't fumble your return. Expect heavy traffic heading west Saturday night, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22 as fans head home. Allow extra time, consider altering travel plans if possible and make sure to gas up vehicles before heading out.
- The best defense is a good offense – so know before you go. Use our online tools such as the @wsdot_east and @snoqualmiepass Twitter accounts, our travel alerts page and WSDOT app to stay in the know both before you head out and as you travel. (Never use an electronic device behind the wheel, ask a passenger or pull over to a safe spot).
- Don't rush (at least on the road). Speeding is not only dangerous, it can be an expensive ticket and a costly travel delay. Obey posted speed limits along your route. WSU alum tip: Watch the speed limit drops in Colfax and allow enough travel time to get to your destination with time to spare.
- Consider an option play for parking. Those heading to the game can park at a Pullman park and ride lot for free and walk to the game or take a shuttle with special Friday and Saturday routes and service.
- Extra passing protection. Four new passing lanes were added to US 195 between Spokane and Pullman this summer adding to two installed the year before. Please make use of these if you need to pass other vehicles on the way to the game.
- Don't get flagged for dangerous driving. Nothing – not even Gameday in Pullman – is worth risking lives by passing recklessly because you're running late. Please also ensure you have a sober – and alert– driver. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving.
Follow these tips to keep yourself and other fans safe and so that you're there for Gameday and in the stands for kick-off yelling, "Go Cougs!" with 35,117 of your closest Coug friends (and a few Ducks that might waddle their way in).