August 25, 2008

Expect Burning Man to increase traffic congestion

Sam Bauman
Nevada Appeal

The Burning Man alternate life-style celebration opens today and drivers can expect increased traffic on roads leading to Gerlach, which is 11 miles from the entrance to the Black Rock City on the desert playa.

For drivers taking Highway 50 east, traffic is not expected to be heavy, although many from Carson City will be on that road.

With some 50,000 Burners expected at the Black Rock City, traffic to Fernley from Silver Springs on highways 95 and 50 North can become clogged. From Fernley to Wordworth it's a two-lane road to Highway 447 and traffic can be expected to be almost bumper to bumper.

Once on 447 there are no gasoline stations until Empire, a mining town a few miles before Gerlach. Empire is the last stop for gas. Bruno's Country Club restaurant is the last place to eat before entering the Burning Man enclosed area. A Burning Man office is next to the Water Tower in Gerlach, but no tickets are to be sold there.

The celebration is scheduled to last all week, but traffic eases once most Burners arrive at Black Rock City. The climax comes Saturday night when the wooden Burning Man effigy will go up in a blaze of fireworks and flames. While many visitors will leave Sunday morning, jamming Highway 447, many will stay for the Sunday night burning of art works scattered about the playa.

Bureau of Land Management personnel furnishes law enforcement, joined by police from Washoe and Pershing counties.