NEWORLEANS - Downtown road closures for the Super Bowl in February start Saturday.
Emergency Medical Service, New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Police Department and Homeland Security were all involved in the master plan, which is similar to the closure plan enacted when the Super Bowl was last held in New Orleans in 2002.
Phase One kicks in Saturday, which will close streets around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Arena, except for when there is a game. The Superdome exit near Claiborne will also be closed.
The Superdome is downtown, which is different from the stadiums in many other cities that are located a distance away from the central business district.
The plan is more complicated by the fact the the big game occurs in the middle of Carnival season.
'In some ways it's much harder to secure the area, because it's everyday working area around here also. But, one of the great benefits, we think, for our Super Bowl here is visitors can walk from almost any hotel...we think we're not going to have the traffic problems others had, such as Dallas did and New Jersey and so forth. Theirs is a little easier to secure than the next one coming up, because they are far out,' said New Orleans Homeland Security Director Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed.
More closures begin on January 26, including the closure of the Poydras ramp off of Interstate-10.
Contract parking at the Superdome will be good until the Friday before the Super Bowl.
'Working with everybody, I think we've solved the problems. We'll have a great Super Bowl, good for our visitors, good for our citizens,' Sneed said.