September 22, 2009 9:29:00 AM
With record fan attendance Sept. 5 at the home football opener and the resulting congestion leading to campus, Mississippi State is adjusting traffic management strategies to improve vehicle flow for Saturday''s game.
After meeting with officials of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Mississippi Highway Patrol, the university''s Game Day Committee is making recommendations that will be implemented beginning with the weekend''s contest against Louisiana State University, said Committee Chair Jim Jones.
"Our hope is to create a smoother flow of traffic and less frustration for our fans and friends attending the game," Jones said. "We''re going to need the continued cooperation of all our fans to help with improvements."
According to Jones,
n All public parking is south of Davis Wade Stadium and east of George Perry Street, and non-reserved parking patrons should plan to use either the Highway 12 exits at Stone Boulevard or Spring Street, or, alternately, the George Perry exit at Highway 182.
n There is no public parking at the Collegeview exit, a source of congestion during MSU''s first home game against Jackson State University; patrons seeking public parking areas should use alternate exits.
"Both the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Starkville Police Department will provide additional personnel to monitor and help direct traffic to avoid blocked intersections or other problems," Jones explained. "In addition, our event operations staff will increase its traffic management presence and response."
The university also will continue to seek assistance from other local communities'' law enforcement departments in managing game-related increases in traffic through their cities to reduce potential bottlenecks.
Since Saturday''s ESPN-televised game begins at 11:21 a.m., tailgating fans are urged to plan earlier-than-normal morning arrivals to minimize traffic congestion.
"Stadium gates will open at 9:30 a.m., and we encourage our fans to push back their tailgating arrival as early as possible," Jones said. "Especially, we remind Junction tailgaters that the maximum unloading time is five minutes and vehicles are never to be left unattended."
Jones said the university is asking fans "to show consideration for others by unloading their items at the curb and moving immediately to their parking areas."
For future games, the Game Day Committee and MDOT are considering adding more highway directional signage to clearly indicate the type of parking available at specific exits. The committee and MDOT are now working toward that goal.
"Our fans are our biggest asset in ensuring that intersections aren''t blocked, that traffic signals and traffic officers are obeyed and that all tailgating rules are honored," Jones said. "Our fans have always responded, and we know they will Sept. 26."
Also, due to extremely wet weather conditions, all on-grass parking for recreational vehicles will be closed for the LSU game. All early arrivals before noon Friday and any overflow will be directed to the Mississippi Horse Park, which has 100 RV hookups. Horsepark patrons will be provided a shuttle to Davis Wade Stadium. Hookup reservations may be made at 662-325-9350.