ATLANTA – With Atlanta now on the clock to prepare for next year’s Super Bowl, part of the planning will involve the impact on our traffic.
Atlanta’s Super Bowl will involve more than just the big game at Mercedes Benz Stadium. There will be numerous events in the area around the stadium.
Houston traffic reporter Darby Douglas of KHOU-TV remembers the impact of those events during last year’s Super Bowl.
“There were huge delays getting into downtown,” says Douglas. “You were always being redirected. There was a huge police presence. They were happy to give you instructions.”
In Houston, an event called Super Bowl Live took over an area of downtown the size of 13 football fields.
The same event closed six blocks of downtown Minneapolis for 10 days prior to the game.
The location of Super Bowl Live in Atlanta isn't official, but Centennial Olympic Park is the proposed site. The event didn't exist the last time the Super Bowl came to Atlanta in 2000.
MARTA is already planning and envisioning an "all hands on deck" situation similar to the 1996 Olympics when the Super Bowl arrives next February. MARTA expanded service for the college football championship game at the Dome, yet there were still delays.
“We're looking at an additional type of service similar to what we do after the Peachtree Road race,” says Elizabeth O’Neill, Interim CEO of MARTA. “We've added bus shuttles as complement to our rail service to help spell the crowds.”
In Houston a year ago, the Super Bowl crowd included 150-thousand visitors.