Keeping Roads Safe During State Basketball Tournament

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The Nebraska State Patrol hopes to increase its visibility in order to keep roads safe for drivers who are headed to Lincoln for the high school boys basketball state tournament.

The NSP will be paying extra attention to the state's main roads, like Interstate 80.

"We are just going to step up our enforcement a little bit," said J.J. Connelly, a trooper with the NSP Troop D headquarters in North Platte. "Make sure everyone is safe out there on the interstate, getting down there to the tournament."

If a driver is headed to the tournament to watch a local team, it's advised to have a travel plan put in place.

"Give yourself plenty of time to get down there," said Connelly. "That way you can avoid speeding if you're late."

Serving as both the head coach and bus driver for North Platte Saint Pat's, Bill O'Malley says when driving players to a game, it all comes down to one word: safety.

"When you're hauling a large group of kids around, you're always concerned with their safety and getting where you're trying to go," said O'Malley.

Both O'Malley and parents agree, having more troopers on the road is a good thing.

"It makes the roads a lot safer for a lot of people who are traveling into Lincoln this time of the year," said Rusty Mayfield, whose son Mark plays for Saint Pat's.

A grant for $11,990 from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety will help pay for the extra enforcement efforts. Troopers hope to accomplish a simple goal.

"I hope we are visible out there," said Connelly. "If we are visible, hopefully people will obey the rules of the road a little bit more."