The College Football Playoff Championship is tonight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. As two “local” teams face off—the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide—the sport’s epicenter promises to be a zoo.
Street closures to make room for events in downtown, as well as an influx of more than 100,000 fans, media, and support crews, are expected to cause the perfect storm when it comes to traffic. (Speaking of storms, a winter weather advisory pertaining to possible freezing rain has closed Atlanta Public Schools and many government offices today.)
Throw in President Trump’s visit, requiring closed roads and enhanced security, and Atlanta has the recipe for a pretty horrific rush hour.
The events surrounding the big game won’t just impact the area around Mercedes-Benz Stadium. During halftime, a free Kendrick Lamar concert will be put on at Centennial Olympic Park, likely drawing tens-of-thousands to the area.
Street closures include Marietta Street, between Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard and Centennial Olympic Park Drive; Centennial Olympic Park Drive, between Portman Boulevard and MLK Jr Drive; and eastbound Baker Street, between Luckie Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive.
In preparation, local and state government offices that are open will close early to allow employees a chance to get out of downtown.
Other offices plan the same, or have told employees to work from home. Even the streetcar will be shut down, according to the City of Atlanta.
Electronic signs along The Connector urge motorists to stay out of downtown after 2 p.m., which may be the best recommendation of all. For locals and visitors alike, the best bet is MARTA—or to stay completely away from the city today.