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Traffic will stop as motorcyclists roll into Martinsburg

August 20, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Motorists on Saturday should expect street detours in downtown Martinsburg and traffic stoppages for the 43-mile motorcycle ride in Berkeley and Jefferson counties as part of Martinsburg Bike Night.

At 8 a.m., East Burke Street, from Queen to Spring streets in the city's historic business district, will be closed to allow for event staging, according to organizers.

At about 2 p.m., Queen Street, from King to Race streets, will be closed to allow vendors to set up. The east and west blocks of Martin and Burke streets, between College and Spring streets, also will be closed at that time.

Those streets will remain closed until about 11 p.m. or midnight.

Registration for the ride begins at 1 p.m. in the Berkeley Plaza parking lot north of Martinsburg off U.S. 11 and continues until 4 p.m., when the ride begins.

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The event is sponsored by the West Virginia Chapter V of Blue Knights International and Main Street Martinsburg. The proceeds will benefit Hospice of the Panhandle.

Now in its eighth year, the ride has helped raise nearly $50,000 for Hospice of the Panhandle, according to the Blue Knights chapter.

The Blue Knights is a nonprofit fraternal organization of active and retired law enforcement men and women who enjoy riding motorcycles.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Lt. Gary Harmison, the chapter's vice president, expects 700 to 800 riders for the event.

Actor Erik Estrada again is scheduled to participate.

The caravan of motorcycles is expected to cause a 20- to 25-minute traffic stoppage for other motorists as it passes, Harmison said.

From the plaza, the caravan of motorcycles will travel south on U.S. 11 to Edwin Miller Boulevard and turn east to East Moler Avenue (W.Va. 45). The ride will continue east into Jefferson County and then turn right onto the Shepherdstown bypass connector to W.Va. 480.

On W.Va. 480, riders will travel through Kearneysville, then follow Leetown Road through Leetown before reaching W.Va. 51.

The ride will continue east on W.Va. 51, traveling to Charles Town.

Harmison said he expects riders will arrive in Charles Town at about 4:30 p.m.

From Charles Town's square, riders will turn left onto W.Va. 115, traveling through Ranson to connect with the new four-lane route for W.Va. 9, where they will turn west toward Martinsburg.

Though not scheduled to be opened to regular traffic until Aug. 31, the motorcycles are being allowed to travel on a new section of W.Va. 9 between the Leetown Road exit and Opequon Creek just outside Martinsburg, according to Harmison and state highway officials.

The motorcycles will return to downtown Martinsburg from W.Va. 9 via the South Queen Street exit at about 5 p.m., according to Harmison.

More information on Martinsburg Bike Night 2010 is on the Internet at http://www.blueknightswvv.com or http://mainstreetmartinsburg.com.

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