Traffic patterns to change during Special Olympics
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Kadena Air Base residents can expect traffic delays, identification checkpoints and street closures around the Risner Fitness Center on Saturday during the Kadena Special Olympic Games.
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the games, which open at 9:45 a.m. and likely will end by 4 p.m., according to Chip Steitz, a Kadena Special Olympics spokesman.
Actor Tom Arnold will be part of the opening ceremony, and he will mingle with athletes and sign autographs throughout the games, Steitz said.
About 1,200 athletes, mostly Japanese, have signed up to participate, Steitz said — the most ever for the Kadena games. The first event, in 1999, drew about 100 athletes, he said.
Traffic flow around Risner Gym will be modified to create a special perimeter to ensure base security while allowing Japanese families and spectators to attend the games, 18th Security Forces Squadron police said in a release.
Police are advising Kadena personnel to avoid Risner and the surrounding areas to help reduce traffic congestion.
The left lane of Douglas Boulevard, from Schreiber Avenue to McKinnon Avenue, will be closed to traffic starting at 2 a.m. Saturday.
Vincent Avenue next to Kadena Middle School will be closed and traffic will only be able to make a right turn from Vincent to Beeson Street. Adams Avenue behind Risner will be closed to all non-Special Olympics traffic. The left lane of Douglas in front of Risner will also be reserved for Special Olympics traffic.
There will be checkpoints at Douglas in front of Risner, at the intersection of Lorling and Adams avenues and at Schreiber Avenue approaching Douglas. Base personnel should carry identification cards.
Spectators are encouraged to "come out and cheer on the athletes," Steitz said.
Parking will not be available at the fitness center. There will be parking at the Olympic Mall area, Four Diamonds Softball Field, and Building 99 at Marek Park, all within walking distance of the center, he said.
Parking will also be available at the base’s officers club and noncommissioned officers club, and shuttles will run from each location, he said.
For more information about road closures and traffic directions, call DSN 634-0714.