Cape's preparations for Tour of Missouri nearly complete

Friday, September 4, 2009

Parking and road closing plans are finalized, the shuttle bus schedule is expanded and routes for people visiting Cape Girardeau are ready.

The preparations for Tuesday's Stage 2 of the Tour of Missouri are almost complete, and Lt. Tracy Lemonds of the Cape Girardeau Police Department said scheduled road closings have changed little since they were announced last week. Broadway and William Street will remain open to traffic until the riders approach, as will Water Street. Independence Street will be open to westbound traffic from Water Street but eastbound traffic will be diverted at Lorimier Street. Both Main and Spanish streets will be closed to through traffic from Broadway to William Street, he said.

All street parking east of Lorimier Street, except along Water Street, will be banned after 6 a.m. And while street parking west of Lorimier Street will remain open, Lemonds is urging people to use the free shuttle bus that will be provided by the Tour of Missouri's local organizing committee.

"I really want to emphasize the shuttle service," Lemonds said.

The shuttles will run from the back of West Park Mall and the Show Me Center beginning at 11 a.m. The shuttles will run continuously until 6 p.m., dropping people at Broadway and Main Street until about a half-hour before the riders arrive. The cyclists will race along a 112.4-mile course from Ste. Genevieve and are expected downtown between 3 and 4:15 p.m.

The 2009 Tour of Missouri will feature 120 bicyclists from 15 teams, including several teams and riders that competed in the Tour de France, the world's most famous bicycle race. In its third year, the Tour of Missouri is visiting Cape Girardeau for the first time, and organizers expect as many as 30,000 people near the finish line along Main Street south of Independence Street.

Parking along East Cape Rock Drive and North Main Street will be banned after noon.

To move out-of-town visitors to the shuttles, the Missouri Department of Transportation is placing signs directing traffic from the south to exit Interstate 55 at William Street, turn at Mount Auburn Road and then into the mall parking lot, said Chuck Martin, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau. From the north, traffic will be directed to exit at Center Junction, then use Lexington Avenue to reach Sprigg Street and the Show Me Center, Martin said.

Several downtown parking lots are reserved for tour needs. The newly completed parking area north of Broadway at Water Street is reserved for media. Parking on Spanish Street just south of Independence and just to the north are also reserved, as is the parking near Old St. Vincent's Church and the Knights of Columbus.

The parking lot at on the northwest corner of Broadway and Main Street is open to the public, Lemonds said.

The city parking lot near the finish line will be used for the health and wellness fair and awards stage and will be closed to use at 4 p.m. Monday, Lemonds said.

Police will be towing vehicles that violate the rules, but efforts will be made to contact the owners before a tow truck takes the car away, Lemonds said.

"The critical time is race time," Lemonds said. "It is critical that the route be cleared."

rkelller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

43 S. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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