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MUPD amping up patrols for graduation weekend

Hotels are fully booked

MU graduation weekend

COLUMBIA, Mo. - With about 5,400 students graduating from the University of Missouri this weekend, Columbia is filled with people traveling in from across the country.

Residents and travelers can expect much more traffic downtown and around the University of Missouri, longer waits at restaurants and no vacant hotel rooms this weekend.

There will also be an increased police presence in the city from both the Columbia Police Department and MUPD. 

MUPD spokeswoman Sara Diedrich said people in the area should be aware of the celebrations, "There are a lot more people around campus this weekend, and we just encourage people to leave early and expect delays," Diedrich said. 

Diedrich said there will be a lot more people around campus this weekend and people should expect delays.

"If you don't have business on or around campus you might want to avoid it," she said.

While there are no major road closures because of gradations, more traffic is a given on major roads leading to campus. Diedrich said many of those drivers aren't local and thus not familiar with the roads.

The Columbia Police Department is cracking down on impaired driving and will have extra officers on duty. A grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Division is funding the increased enforcement efforts.

 

Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Amy Schneider said the traffic is worth the frustration because the influx in visitors helps local businesses.

"They are bringing new money into our community, they are spending money at our restaurants and gas stations and so we should be excited to have them coming in," she said.

"(Local drivers) may have to sit through a stoplight twice, they may have longer lines at their restaurants but these are visitors that are coming into their community that are proud of their children."

Schneider said every Columbia hotel is fully booked and her organization stays in contact with the hotels about cancellations so they can ensure as many people can find a room.

"We have a few more of these weekends coming up, but these are always very good weekends for the city," Schneider said.


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