At a press conference preceding a Super Bowl XVII media briefing, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials previewed the upcoming street closures, detours and traffic plans in the weeks leading up to the big game on February 3. "It's a sweet burden to have," Landrieu said.
Landrieu said the city has an "intense partnership with Homeland Security" in determining how the city operates in that time, which runs in the middle of Carnival season and will effect streets from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to the Superdome to the French Quarter and Woldenberg Park.
"The city is going to look spectacular," Landrieu said. "(The Super Bowl) is a great opportunity to show what the city looks like (after) its resurrection, redemption and resilience."
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Street closures begin Saturday, January 5, and closures include Dave Dixon Drive, Magnolia Avenue, West Stadium Drive, Howard Avenue, Sugar Bowl Drive, and the Super Dome exit from the Pontchartrain Expressway. The I-10 Superdome exit will close January 5-25, and from January 26 through February 4, the Poydras ramp will close and Convention Center Boulevard may be reduced to one lane, for downtown traffic. Poydras will become lakebound only with no riverbound traffic.
Starting February 1, the city will form and close a perimeter around the Superdome from Poydras, W. Stadium Drive, Howard Avenue and Poydras Plaza. On game day, the city will enforce a "no-drive zone" around the Dome.
From January 30 through February 4, vehicles will be prohibited from Canal and Dumaine streets and Decatur and Rampart streets, with interior closures (meaning only emergency vehicles) between Canal and St. Ann streets and Royal and Dauphine streets. Decatur Street to the river may be subject to traffic closure depending on pedestrian crowds — Serpas will make closure decisions in and around the French Quarter during Super Bowl weekend.
New Orleans Police Department chief Ronal Serpas reminded residents to "be patient, be thoughtful."
Serpas said all NOPD officers will be retrained on traffic control protocol, and NOPD will enforce a "23-hour-day traffic plan." Officers will direct traffic from all intersections around the Dome, and SkyWatch mobile surveillence towers will form a square around the "downtown area." Serpas said NOPD has a "robust" foot beat for the game and a traffic contingency plan to route traffic the day after the Super Bowl.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority director Justin Augustine said RTA " will deploy every piece of rolling stock" in its fleet, and its pre-game plan will go in effect January 26. Detours will be announced for lines along Claiborne, Tchoupitoulas and Galvez "will be communicated to the public" via on-board alerts, media releases, social media and the RTA website.
"If you can't reach us through one of those medias, you haven't really tried," he said.