Traffic was hectic for many who attended the first day of the Red Deer Regional Airshow this past weekend.
Just after noon on Saturday, vehicles coming from Red Deer were lined up on Highway 2A nearly as far back as Lantern Street at Gasoline Alley, which is about seven kilometres away from the Red Deer Regional Airport in Springbrook.
Some individuals expressed frustration on the Red Deer Regional Airshow Facebook page.
“I live 20 to 30 minutes away but it took three hours to get there with traffic lineups and missed half of the aerial display. Not a happy camper,” said one commenter.
Another commenter said: “Was very disappointed about the traffic. Only one point of entry using one lane. Therefore missed half the show. Saw only two acts on the grounds.”
Nancy Paish, Red Deer Regional Airport director of business development and communications, said the airshow was still busy on Sunday, but traffic was much less hectic thanks to an adjusted parking strategy.
“It was overwhelming on Saturday – it was a wonderful day, but overwhelming,” said Paish.
“It went much more smoothly … and efficiently getting everyone in and off the highway (on Sunday). There were two or three accidents on Highway 2A on Saturday. We didn’t have any accidents on Sunday, which helped us immensely.”
Paish said the flag staff that was helping people get into the parking lot was utilized “more clearly” on Sunday as well.
“We also did all of our ticket and gate checking at our main gate when people were coming in and had less conversation on the road. This way we could pull people off the road much faster – we adjusted this on Saturday afternoon and continued it on Sunday,” she said.
Alberta RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said police responded to a collision on Highway 2A, near Township Road 374, involving two or three vehicles that was reported just after 11 a.m.
“Initial reports (indicated) that there could have been some injuries when EMS arrived,” said Savinkoff.
When plans are made for events like airshows, RCMP and organizers will discuss potential traffic impacts, Savinkoff noted.
“Once a solid plan is made, quite often the organizers and ourselves will rejig existing plans, talk about what works and what didn’t work in previous years, and there can be some adaptations going forward. Certainly access to emergency vehicles is something that’s brought up in those discussions,” he said.