The Nancy Swain Watters Memorial Walk will depart the Oneida Municipal Services Building around 9:30 a.m. Friday, following U.S. Hwy. 27 south for much of its route to the Plateau Electric Cooperative headquarters, arriving at 1 p.m. A funeral procession for THP Sgt. Brian Boshears will depart Bethlehem Baptist Church around 12:30 p.m. Friday, following U.S. Hwy. 27 south to North Lake Drive and arriving around 1 p.m. Friday.
Traffic logistics in Oneida are expected to be a headache for local law enforcement on Friday, and Mayor Jack E. Lay is advising motorists to "take a back road," more or less.
"It's going to be a tough day tomorrow," Mayor Lay said. "If folks can take other routes getting into or through Oneida, they need to do that."
A pair of events are expected to keep traffic snarled along U.S. Hwy. 27 (Alberta Street) for much of the day. The first will be the annual Nancy Swain Watters Memorial Walk, which will depart the Oneida Municipal Services Building around 9:30 a.m. and ultimately arrive at Plateau Electric Cooperative's headquarters on U.S. Hwy. 27 on the south end of town somewhere around 1 p.m. As participants in the walk are nearing their destination, a funeral procession for THP Sgt. Brian Boshears will depart Bethlehem Baptist Church en route to Carson Memorial Park near Ponderosa Estates.
The Scott County Sheriff's Department will assist Oneida Police Department with coordinating traffic through town as the walk progresses. The walk is old hat for both agencies, who have coordinated the effort for several years. While traffic will not be stopped along U.S. Hwy. 27 as the walk takes place, congestion will be a major issue.
While the walk participants are expected to be clear of the route to Carson Memorial by the time the funeral procession departs Bethlehem Baptist between 12:30 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. Friday afternoon, the length of the procession — with several hundred people expected to attend services for the well-known and much-respected THP veteran — will prolongue the traffic congestion in town.
Lay said that other first responders will be utilized for traffic control as well, including Oneida Fire Department and the Scott County Rescue Squad.
"It's going to be a coordinated effort," he said. "The main thing is we want to get the word out."
After the 9 a.m. opening ceremonies at the Oneida Municipal Services Building, the memorial walk — coordinated by the Children's Center of the Cumberlands and the Scott County Women's Shelter — will proceed south on U.S. Hwy. 27 to North Main Street. The walk will turn onto Main Street to make the short trek to Oneida High School, eventually leaving Main Street and working its way back to U.S. Hwy. 27. Walk participants will then continue on U.S. Hwy. 27 to Plateau Electric Cooperative.
Students will be held at Plateau Electric, where snacks and refreshments are served to walk participants, until after word is received that the funeral procession has cleared U.S. Hwy. 27 and has turned into Ponderosa Estates, and then buses will begin transporting students back north. The Boshears family scheduled the interment services in the afternoon rather than the traditional late morning start time in order to minimize conflict with the memorial walk, which was originally scheduled for April 19 but postponed by one week due to weather.