HUNTSVILLE — Motorists on S.R. 63 will be sharing the highway with all-terrain vehicles this weekend, as thousands of visitors and local residents alike participate in Brimstone's White Knuckle Event.
For a third consecutive Memorial Day holiday weekend, S.R. 63 will be open to ATVs, as authorized by a state law specific to Baker Highway that was passed in 2015. The law allows ATVs on the highway through the Town of Huntsville on any two weekends of the year, which are determined by the town's mayor and board of aldermen.
Roughly, ATVs are permitted on the highway from S.R. 456 on the east end of town to U.S. Hwy. 27 on the west end. ATVs can be operated on the highway from sunrise Friday morning through sunset Sunday evening. Riders must obey several requirements, including the use of helmets and, with the exception of traditional ATVs, which are not equipped with them, the use of seatbelts.
While ATV traffic must be off the highway by sunset on Friday night, a change to state law will allow ATVs to remain on the highway after dark. The law, sponsored by state Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, and state Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, easily passed last month and was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with only seven "no" votes.
The bill was lobbied for by both Brimstone and the Scott County Chamber of Commerce, which represents business owners along the S.R. 63 corridor who were in favor of the amendment. The new law is intended to allow ATV riders to legally leave the event grounds and return to their vehicles or lodging elsewhere along the S.R. 63 corridor after concerts end late Saturday evening. Previously, the requirement that ATVs be off the highway by sunset on Saturday left riders who had driven their ATVs to the event area during the day on the highway illegally, or stranded away from their vehicle, after the concerts ended.
ATVs can also be driven on several county roads around the event area, including River Road, Winona Road, Bull Creek Road, Cordell Road, Norma Road, Brimstone Road, Low Gap Road and Smokey Creek Road. Those roads, which generally include all thoroughfares south of Huntsville between Brimstone Road and Norma Road, fall within Scott County's adventure tourism district, and were approved last year by Scott County Commission. Additionally, ATVs can be operated on all city streets within the Town of Huntsville.