MARTINS FERRY - Commuters on Thursday will likely see some traffic delays and high levels of congestion when Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade arrives in the city for an invitation-only event at the Staffilino Car Dealership.
For the first time in Martins Ferry history, a sitting vice president is coming to the city and Sgt. Charles Ghent is serving as liaison between the Martins Ferry Police Department and the Secret Service for the upcoming event.
For security reasons, officials have released few details about the vice president's first visit to Martins Ferry. Ghent did state that the police and security requirements of protecting the vice commander-in-chief typically lead to traffic issues.
"There will be no parking along the route on Thursday and there will be short-term road closures throughout the day," said Ghent. "It will impact the public, but we will try to minimize any inconvenience to drivers and local business as much as we can."
While law enforcement closes some access points to give the vice president's motorcade a path to the dealership, Ghent advised that drivers use alternate routes. For example, if Hanover would be closed, commuters on Ohio 7 will be redirected to either the Fifth Street or Aetna Street and if Aetna Street were used then Hanover and Fifth will remain open to traffic entering or exiting the city.
Traffic volumes around the dealership are expected to be higher than usual because of the stop included on the itinerary for the president's re-election campaign, Obama For America.
"We anticipate that once the road closures are announced that 'No Parking' signs will be placed and all vehicles will be cleared from the streets," Ghent explained that no exact time had been set for Biden's arrival. "Commuters can expect that the route will be shut down completely all morning, off and on.
"Motorists traveling through the Ohio Valley on Route 7 or working in Martins Ferry would be wise to give themselves extra time to get to their destinations because of the additional traffic," added Ghent.