Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials last week unveiled the city's traffic plan for Super Bowl XLVII, which comes at the height of Carnival season and will affect streets from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to the Superdome to the French Quarter and Woldenberg Park. "It's a sweet burden to have," Landrieu said.
The mayor said the city has an "intense partnership with Homeland Security" in determining how the city operates during that time. "The city is going to look spectacular," Landrieu predicted. "[The Super Bowl] is a great opportunity to show what the city looks like [after] its resurrection, redemption and resilience."
Street closures begin Saturday, Jan. 5 — one day after the Sugar Bowl, one month before the Super Bowl. Closures include Dave Dixon Drive, Magnolia Avenue, West Stadium Drive, Howard Avenue, Sugar Bowl Drive and the Superdome exit from the Pontchartrain Expressway. The I-10 Superdome exit will close Jan. 5 through game day. From Jan. 26 through Feb. 4, the Poydras exit ramp will close and Convention Center Boulevard may be reduced to one lane for downtown traffic. Poydras Street will become lakebound only, with no riverbound traffic.
Starting Feb. 1, the city will form and close a perimeter around the Superdome from Poydras, West Stadium Drive, Howard Avenue and Poydras Plaza. On game day, the city will enforce a "no-drive zone" around the Dome.
From Jan. 30 through Feb. 4, the upper French Quarter will close to traffic in the familiar Mardi Gras pattern. Decatur Street may be subject to traffic closure depending on pedestrian crowds. New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Chief Ronal Serpas will make closure decisions as situations warrant.
Serpas said all 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 surveillance 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 (RTA) director Justin Augustine said RTA "will deploy every piece of rolling stock" in its fleet, and its pre-game plan will go into effect Jan. 26. Detours will be announced for lines along Claiborne, Tchoupitoulas and Galvez and 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 media, you haven't really tried," Augustine said. — Alex Woodward