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U Hoping Traffic Plan Pays Off During Gopher Home Opener

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Twins played at noon Thursday at Target Field, but the big traffic jam was because the Gophers played that evening at TCF Bank Stadium and The Vikings were also set to kick-off at the Metrodome.

Because the Gopher football home opener is on a weekday, there are some special traffic and parking restrictions for all who will drive to the game. Officials hope fans do their homework so there are no surprises come game time.

“It’s our first Labor Day game at home and so it takes some getting used to” said Chris Werle, the senior assistant athletic director at the university.

Werle says countless emails have gone out to fans about where they can park. Fans were also told where they can set up their pre-game activities.

“We’ve opened up to the lots at 2 p.m., which gives people four hours to tailgate, which is roughly what you have Saturday for an 11 a.m. game,” Werle said. “It’s a little tricky, because they are also lots where people who work here park.”

University employees already occupy the spaces where game day fans are expected to park and tailgate.

Workers will be leaving as people come to the game, so officials hope people are patient while waiting on that parking spot.

Werle wants fans to get familiar with gophersports.com.

“We did a study,” he said. “We put together a lot of good, color-coded maps for people so when they leave they know exactly where they can go; and if everybody follows the right routes, everybody is going to get out faster.”

The Game Day Central page tells fans where to park and which routes to take out of the lots.

It’s a tall order for a department that has never done this before, considering more than 50,000 fans will have to adjust to a new way of doing things.

University police are handling traffic duties, and they’ll be assisted by Minneapolis police.

Because of the heat, there are misters and watering stations throughout the stadium.

Fans can also bring in empty water bottles so they can fill them up when needed.

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