Extra patrols on "The Dragon" for busy weekend

(WBIR-Blount County) The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) expects an increase in traffic on U.S. Highway 129 this weekend.

That's because of "Thunder in the Smokies" in Maggie Valley, N.C. and "Fall Rod Run" in Pigeon Forge. Because of the two events, THP expects more motorcyclists on "The Dragon," an 11-mile stretch of roadway that contains 318 curves.

Since Friday, THP's Knoxville District has increased visibility on "The Dragon" to help curb accidents.

"They're definitely out there writing people tickets today. But I guess they're doing their job," said Mohammad Kamal, who takes photos of those conquering "The Dragon" for Killboy.com.

THP has reported 54 crashes along the stretch of road since the beginning of 2013, including two from Friday. There has been one fatality this year on "The Dragon", compared to six for all of 2012.

At the Tennessee, North Carolina state line THP held a drivers license check point on Saturday afternoon.

"Today at this location we've got a person who is driving without a license, without insurance, without registration, a lot of people driving with unapproved safety helmets...and we've got some complaints of people reckless driving," said Lt. Johnny McDonald, with THP.

It was the first time Tami Lee from Jackson, Ga. slayed "The Dragon."

"It allows me to run at the speed designated and to stay safe and hopefully it helps everyone do the same thing," Lee said about the extra patrols.

THP said troopers will continue to monitor "The Dragon" until sunset on Sunday.


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