NEW ORLEANS -- The Super Bowl is still a month away, but already Homeland Security is closing down streets and interstate ramps to make sure the area around the Superdome is secure. Because of that your commute could be detoured.
With all the sprucing up of the city streets and lights, and the promise of lots of cash being infused into the city, comes the price, some inconvenience driving and getting around. Beginning Saturday, some streets around the Dome will be closed.
"Bottom line, we have to have a secure area back there and what that's going to help us do, if it's all closed off starting for months a head of time, we know better what's back there, how we can control things. If something should pop up during the Super Bowl itself, we know we've got a real secure area and that will help us verify what to do," said Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Director for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for the City of New Orleans.
The master plan is a collaboration among NOPD, NOFD, The NFL, EMS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. So keep in mind when driving towards downtown on I-10, you will not be able to get off at the Superdome exit. That's the one near the Claiborne exit.
"We understand it's a difficult situation, but we have to have the security and we're trying to work with our citizens. We've had good meetings. Our citizens are team players," added Sneed.
The next interstate closure will happen on January 26. That's when the Poydras street exit near the Dome will be closed.
"There's a lot of items that are going to be put on Poydras, such as that's where every body's going to come in. We have all your magnetometers, tents and so forth," said Sneed.
The plans will be similar to the Super Bowl exactly 11 years ago with a few minor tweaks.
New Orleans is a unique Super Bowl city. Our stadium sits in it's heart. In other cities, they are miles away on the outskirts. So then it comes to planning, officials say there are pros and cons.
"In some ways, it's much harder to secure the area because it's an everyday working area around here also. But one of the great benefits we think for our Super Bowl here is it's citizens, visitors can walk from almost any hotel and get to it. So we're not going to have, we think, we're not going to have the traffic problems that others have," explained Sneed.
All of the streets are scheduled to reopen on February 6, three days after the Super Bowl. Also, people who have contract parking in the Dome will be able to park there up until the Friday before the game.
For the maps and updates of closings in the area click here or go to Links on 4.