RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The city of Richmond is moving at full speed ahead of the UCI Road World Championships in late September. Mayor Dwight Jones and other city leaders answered questions on April 23 on how they are preparing for the event. With nearly 450,000 people expected to fill the city over a 9-day period, city officials are working to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
Thousands of cyclists from around the world will compete, with hundreds of journalists in attendance. 300 people around the world are expected to watch the events from home.
“This is a party we’re throwing for Richmonders as well as for our visitors,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones at a media briefing. “We want everybody to know it’s going to be a 9-day party.
But parties can quickly get out of hand. Police have been planning security measures for the event for more than two years with local, state and federal partners. The city has set aside more than $1 million in overtime pay for police.
“We’re going to protect Richmonders 24-7 while they’re here,” Mayor Jones told reporters.
There is also a major push to get roads ready for cyclists and spectators. There have been monthly public works and infrastructure meetings for the past 3 years, as members address street surfacing, walkability and public right-of-way issues. Signs and bike racks are being installed, and primary and secondary roads are being resurfaced ahead of the event.
Among all of the plans to attract visitors from out of town, Jones says he wants to see Richmonders be more than just bystanders.
“This is an opportunity to show Richmond to the world. We don’t want (visitors) to see empty streets. We want them to see people and the infrastructure,” Jones said.
Visitor spending is expected to bring $129 million to the region. Preparations for the cycling championship are estimated to cost $21.3 million. The event will last from September 19-27.