NEW ORLEANS-- In a little more than 50 days from now, Super Bowl XLVII will kick off in New Orleans. With such a major event taking place in the city, one of the biggest challenges is expected to be just getting around.
Aside from security, one of the major aspects of planning involves traffic -- both vehicular and pedestrian.
In the run-up to the Super Bowl, New Orleans is putting the finishing touches on infrastructure around the city. There are traffic headaches now, but even when street work wraps up, traffic is not likely to ease up until after the big game.
"There will be street closings and we will have to reroute traffic," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "And folks who have been to the Super Bowl, post-September 11th, have seen this footprint before -- this one is a little bit bigger."
Officials unveiled that footprint on Tuesday: it is a combination of street closures in different sections of the city. Some of them begin as early as Jan. 5, nearly a month before the Super Bowl. Most of those are taking place around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome itself, as the NFL begins its preparations.
"We understand what it's like to be frustrated and stuck in traffic and we're going to do all that we can to move traffic efficiently and effectively and under command and control," said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Serpas said driving restrictions would not just take place around the 'Dome, but also in the French Quarter, with additional officers on foot patrol in the Marigny and around the Morial Convention Center.
"We think we're going to be able to keep Convention Center Boulevard both ways open the whole time," said Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, the city's director of homeland security. However, he added, that could change depending on what traffic patterns emerge at that time.
For the first ever, Serpas said the familiar police watch towers, which keep an eye on crowds during major events, will keep an eye on traffic then.
"We will instruct them that they are to immediately shift resources, shift traffic direction and command and control, once they see traffic backing up," Chief Serpas said.
The city set up a webpage for all Super Bowl-related information, including maps of the street closures. To access it, click here