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BIG Time Downtown Traffic

The BIG Championship will bring 70,000 visitors to Indianapolis, and major traffic is coming with them

(Photo credit: Matt Bair - 93 WIBC)

We’re riding the good news express with all of these south side ramps opening. We’ll also look into the fiasco surrounding the Capitol Ave. bridge and its apparent mock opening. But first…


BIG CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND

(Photo Credit: Matt Bair - 93 WIBC)

It’s the BIG Ten Championship live from downtown Indianapolis, featuring the 8th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and 4th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Gametime is Saturday at 8:00pm. Lucas Oil Stadium will be rockin' with its first full house in a long time (not a dig at the Colts). That means an additional 70,000 midwesterners will cram their cheesy stuffed crust and beer soaked bodies into the Circle City, causing plenty of foot and vehicular traffic congestion. Chris Gahl of Visit Indy punctuated how robust these traveling road shows really are:

Both Wisconsin and Ohio State fan bases travel extremely well and have carved a path to Indy through the years for our Big Ten related events. Our hotels will be full, our restaurants bustling, and the city once again on the national stage through national media coverage.

And the fun isn’t limited to Saturday. Festivities start Friday, guaranteeing a tricky escape from downtown when work is over. Here's a fancy map of some of the happenings :

Big Ten Fan Fest

This is the “do all” for football fans, and one of the few times you can visit a packed Indiana Convention Center without stepping on an Ewok or getting bludgeoned to death with a plastic sword.  Fan Fest runs Friday from 3:00pm – 9:00pm and Saturday from 10am – 8pm. It’s free with a game ticket, or $8.00 for an adult or $4.00 for the kids (ages 3-12). Military gets complimentary access.  Purchase your tickets at the Georgia St. ticket office.

Tailgate on Georgia Street

It’s free!  The Meijer Tail Greater Party on Georgia St. is Saturday from 10am – 8pm.  Eating champion and bottomless pit Joey Chestnut is in town for a Major League Eating Contest featuring St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail.  There’s a band, food, and drinks.  Enjoy yourself.  Plenty of people watching.

Pep Rallies

If you absolutely need quiet time downtown Saturday, make dinner plans between 4:00 - 7:00pm. That's when they hold the pep rallies at the convention center.

Championship Game

Kickoff from Lucas Oil Stadium is at 8:00pm. Gates open at 6:15pm.  Brush up on the Clear Bag Policy before going to the game, or you might find yourself having to sell your luggage before punching your ticket. Here's a hint, courtesy of Indiana Sports Corp:

Bags must satisfy the guidelines below in order to be taken into Lucas Oil Stadium:
 

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”
  • One-gallon re-sealable, clear plastic storage bag
  • Small clutch bags or purses, no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”, with or without a handle or strap
  • An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the following gates: Northwest corner (employee entrance) OR Southeast corner (adjacent to Ticket Office)

Read the entire clear bag policy here, and what is allowed in the stadium here.

PARKING

Plenty of parking lots and garages to choose from, and each comes with its own unique scent of hot garbage and toilet water.  It never hurts to call ahead for rates and capacity. I do it, and most of the attendants are happy to help out.

RV Nation

This is a micronation of RVs and very large vehicles a place to congregate before and after the game. Availability starts Friday and ends Sunday. The lot is located at 343 W. McCarty St, which is throwing distance from Shapiro’s meatloaf.  Combine that with a couple of local IPAs, and you’ll be the most popular fan in section 225 come game time.  Interseted?  Check here for availability.

And Traffic

Did I mention they were serious about this clear bag policy? Serious enough to put up a road sign in the far right lane of southbound West St., reminding you that the policy is very real.  I was out there Thursday night, and drivers were giving themselves a whole thirty feet to cut back to the left.  Look out for this:

(Photo credit: Matt Bair - 93 WIBC)

Expect downtown to be a zoo, especially on the major cooridors.  An inconvenience for some? Sure. But it’s great fun and a big deal for our town. Plan ahead to maximize your enjoyment of the weekend – football fan or not.


SOUTH SIDE RAMPS ARE (DRUM ROLL) OPEN

Both ramps from I-465 to northbound I-65 on the south side opened Thursday morning, and it was glorious:

The ramps closed in March, making the morning commute to downtown hellish for Beech Grove and other south side commuters.

Alanna Martella and Shea Goodpaster of RTV6 made a short film of it. This made me cry harder than the ending of Spartacus:

Again, just glorious.


DAMN YOU CAPITOL AVE. BRIDGE!

Capitol Ave. bridge over Fall Creek - just north of 24th St. - opened Monday afternoon. There was a big ceremony and Mayor Joe cut the ribbon and everyone was excited about the completion of this project until…

Someone forgot to take the signs down.

I kid you not, and it was frustrating.  We’re midway through morning drive Tuesday and I’m getting tweets about how you can’t turn onto the bridge from Fall Creek Pkwy, and how closure signs are stopping traffic from flowing onto the bridge.

What? Why? How does that happen?

Anyways, the bridge is now most definitely open. We'll get into all of this another time:

The other closure related to the bridge - the infrastructure project on Capitol Ave. from 29th St. to 27th St. - should be finished this Monday, according to Citizens Energy.

On a not so distant side note, Central Ave. Bridge will reopen sometime in NOVEMBER OF 2018. Meaning Fall Creek Pkwy will be awful for another year. Hooray!


Whatever your reason for listening to 93 WIBC, it's great to have you.  My personal thanks to everyone for partnering up with @WIBCTraffic and calling in a tip when you see one. We're helping each other out, and that's pretty cool.

-Bair


Matthew Bair lost a bet and had to wrap his body in Chrsitmas tree garland.  Unfortunately, it scratched his favorite pair of leather chaps.  He's the new voice of Indianapolis traffic, and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic. Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397.

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