Monday, March 20, 2023

Here’s how Ironman is going to impact camping, traffic next month

The Ironman 70.3 Virginia half-triathlon is coming to James City County next year, and tourism officials say it will be a boon to the local economy. (WYDaily/Courtesy James City County)
The Ironman 70.3 Virginia half-triathlon is coming to James City County next year, and tourism officials say it will be a boon to the local economy. (WYDaily/Courtesy James City County)

There’s a lot of planning to be done when you’re expecting 2,000-plus athletes to flood your town.

In less than a month, James City County will play host to the Ironman Virginia 70.3 half-triathlon, which is set for May 5 and will be based in Chickahominy Riverfront Park.

Laura Messer, the county’s tourism and marketing coordinator, said James City County has made plans for road detours, medical stations, campground and boat ramp closures and more.

“James City County has been a part of the preparation process for IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia from assisting in the park logistics, planning the route, emergency management plans and attending meetings with IRONMAN,” Messer wrote in an email.

The course also runs through James City County and into New Kent and Charles City counties, and therefore, fire-rescue crews and law enforcement from those localities will also be on-call.

Ironman has received a special event permit from James City County and has provided all the necessary permits and authorizations to hold the event.


With Ironman being such a large race, there will be traffic advisories in place May 5. Those include:

  • Richmond Road from New Kent line to Forge Road will be down to one travel lane eastbound
  • Cranston Mill Pond Road will be closed to through traffic (residents and cyclists only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Jolly Pond Road at the bridge will be closed to through traffic (cyclists only)
  • Brick Bat Road will only be accessible from the Centerville side for vehicular traffic; vehicles can exit, but not enter from the Route 5 side

James City County Police will be in charge of assisting those who live on blocked off roads. Those with questions should contact police ahead of time.

Camping and park services

Because Chickahominy Riverfront Park will be the hub of activity for the race, park staff are advising campers to stay elsewhere in the area.

They are asking campers not with the race to reserve campsites elsewhere because Ironman will have an impact on park usage. The road into and out of the park will be closed on the day of the race, so access to the RV and storage area will also be closed, Messer said.

Veda McMullen, senior communications specialist for Parks and Recreation, said campers will hopefully call ahead to schedule reservations, so they will be notified ahead of time about the event.

When campers attempt to make reservations, staff will refer them to other campgrounds including Anvil, Glen Allen or local KOA campgrounds.

The boat ramp will be closed on May 4 and 5 as well.

Two weeks before Ironman, James City County will put out notices about the closures and give information on alternative boat launches, including the launch at James City County Marina, 2054 Jamestown Road.

The pool will not be affected because it does not open until Memorial Day weekend.

Public safety

James City County will have a unified command center at Chickahominy Riverfront Park that will coordinate responses between all three localities involved.

There will be marine rescue teams on-site as well, and Riverside Doctors Hospital staff.

Additional information through public notices will be available in the weeks leading up to the race, Messer said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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