NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — If fender benders or sheer volume threaten to clog up National Harbor traffic on MGM’s opening night Thursday, officials want you to know they’re ready.
“We have a plan,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski. “But, as with every plan — as soon as you engage — we’re going to start altering that plan. We’re going to actively manage this for our community.”
The flow of traffic will not be dictated by traffic signals, but will be determined by human judgment, he said.
“For this event we’re not relying on signalization. We’re going to have officers at each intersection,” Stawinski said.
Tow trucks and commuter buses will be standing by to remove crashed or disabled vehicles and their passengers from travel lanes.
Officers on the street will be assisted and advised by staff in the National Harbor Traffic Command Center.
Images from hundreds of cameras focused on National Harbor roadways, businesses, parking garages and facilities are visible from monitors in two conference rooms. One is devoted to monitoring the downtown area and residences — paid for by the National Harbor Homeowners Association.
The other is for incident and traffic control in the greater National Harbor area that includes the MGM National Harbor resort and casino, Tanger Outlets and area highways.
“If you look at the room itself, it’s meant to adapt to anybody who needs to be here — and that can change,” said Kent Digby, senior vice president for operations at National Harbor.
The unified command center is equipped to stream live feeds from state and on-site traffic cameras and area surveillance cameras as well as state and local police helicopters.
“There’s a variety of partners that would be in the room along with their information,” Digby said. “That’s why there’s so many screens and so many ways to carve up those screens.”
A helicopter pad on the edge of the MGM property will be operational by Thursday, Digby said, to accommodate police and medical needs.
“That heliport is all meant to be an emergency response center. That’s not a private fly-the-big-rollers-in,” Digby said. “This is meant to be a public service area.”