Sweet Sixteen comes with traffic and business boom

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Many high school basketball fans headed to Rupp Arena early to avoid the traffic. Those driving in didn't just face fan traffic but also traffic due to construction work.

For many downtown businesses, tournament week is something employees look forward to every year, "We've been looking forward to this for many months," says Jim Sawyer, owner of Sawyer's.

Sawyer's has been open for business since 1986 and staff are trained to handle the crowds, "It's a morning session, a night session. I feed multiple people three times a day. They'll eat at 11 o'clock and watch the games, eat at 3 o'clock, and then eat again before they go back and watch the last games."

But, before fans make it to Rupp Arena, many will have to go through
a construction area along Newtown Pike. Crews have the road down to one lane on both sides in between Louden Avenue and Fourth Street.

Many basketball fans headed to Lexington extra early, "Beat the traffic," says Clay Crum, a basketball fan.

While the teams from Crum's county didn't make it into the Sweet Sixteen, he comes with his family just for the experience, "It's good basketball. It's good entertainment for the family."

While it's good entertainment for Kentuckian's, it's great for Sawyer's.

"It's a boom for business. In this five day period, we'll do roughly 65% of the year long business we did for UK basketball," says Sawyer.

Friday won't be the only day that drivers will likely face traffic issues. UK plays at noon Saturday at Rupp Arena and the high school tournament continues after that game.

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