PHOENIX — Super Bowl and Phoenix Open fans are flooding into the Valley, bringing inevitable traffic jams. Drivers should allow extra travel time and note a few high-traffic and lane-closure areas for the next two weeks, transportation officials said.
Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, expects traffic to be thick in downtown Phoenix because of events starting this weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, Footprint Center and Margaret T. Hance Park. Both ADOT and the Glendale Transportation Department suggest factoring in time to battle traffic and find parking.
“You certainly have to allow for extra travel time when those things are in play,” Nintzel said.
At the Super Bowl Experience Feb. 4-5 and Feb. 9-11, fans can compete, play games, take pictures and get autographs at the Phoenix Convention Center. Hance Park hosts a free outdoor Super Bowl Experience festival with live music, food and entertainment Feb. 9-11, and the Footprint Center hosts a Super Bowl Music Fest downtown Feb. 9-11.
Nintzel said ADOT plans to stop all construction-related road closures and road work through Wednesday, Feb. 15, to help fans travel to and from both the Waste Management Phoenix Open in north Scottsdale and football-related events in Phoenix, Glendale and neighboring cities.
Even though there will be no scheduled freeway closures, there are a few lane closures and high-traffic corridors to note.
“There will be some restrictions near the Broadway curve of I-10, but those will not be a full closure,” Nintzel said. ADOT anticipates lane closures during overnight hours, but no daytime closures that would affect getting to an event.
Glendale City Traffic Engineer Tony Abbo expects heavy traffic along routes to State Farm Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12, along 91st to 99th avenues; Glendale Avenue and Arizona State Route 101, and Camelback Road and Cardinals Way. Temporary road closures are planned near the stadium, including:
“Follow the messages that are placed on the dynamic message signs — overhead signs on the freeway as well as the portable message signs — because they will guide you to the parking areas within the stadium,” Abbo said, adding that GPS navigation systems can be unreliable during temporary road and lane closures.
“Get there early,” Abbo suggested to Super Bowl goers. “That way you can figure out your routes in and around the stadium.”
Use of public transportation is encouraged to improve traffic flow. Valley Metro announced it will be adding extra trains and buses to its routes. Valley Metro Rail — with a dozen free park-and-ride lots and five overflow parking lots — can take visitors to many Super Bowl events. The light rail is extending its service until 2 a.m. from Feb 9-12.
Rideshare will also be in high demand with numerous fans flying in from out of state. Abbo said rideshare pickup spots surround the stadium.
“I stress once again, if there’s a way to get on public transportation, try to use that, or try to use Uber and Lyft or any of the other rideshares to get to the stadium,” Abbo said.
It’s also important for both visitors and residents of the Valley of the Sun to be prepared for potential traffic incidents on the busy freeways.
“There could be a crash out there. There could be a disabled vehicle, and that creates a slowdown in traffic,” Nintzel said. “It can create the need for an unscheduled closure, and that’s why we work with the Department of Public Safety.”