Between a couple of big football games, a basketball game, a parade and the peach drop at the stroke of midnight on Monday, huge crowds are expected to jam downtown Atlanta for this long holiday weekend.
At least the visitors won’t have to worry about road construction slowing them down, as the state Department of Transportation has suspended all interstate roadwork until Tuesday evening.
The event-filled weekend gets under way Saturday night, when the Hawks take on the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. at Philips Arena.
On Sunday, the Falcons play Tampa Bay at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta police Sgt. Gregory Lyon said as many as 180,000 people are expected downtown on Monday, for events that begin early in the day and run late into the night.
Those events include the Chick-fil-A Bowl Parade, which steps off at 12:30 p.m. and marches down Peachtree Street from Ralph McGill Boulevard to Andrew Young International Boulevard, takes a right and continues to the Georgia World Congress Center.
Other Monday events surrounding the bowl game include the Chick-fil-A Bowl Fanfare from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center and the game itself — LSU vs. Clemson — which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
New Year’s Eve festivities get under way at 11 a.m. at Underground Atlanta and culminate with the peach drop at midnight.
“There will be numerous street closings around these events throughout the day,” Lyon said. “Anyone planning to attend these events, or any other activities in downtown Atlanta, should consider alternative modes of transportation, such as MARTA, to avoid expected heavy traffic.”
MARTA spokeswoman Cara Hodgson said the last trains will depart the Five Points rail station at 2 a.m. Tuesday. MARTA will be operating on a regular weekday schedule on Monday, although buses serving Five Points will be rerouted to other stations beginning at 4 p.m.
The weekend weather should be dry once a few showers forecast for Friday night and early Saturday move out.
Channel 2 Action News meteorologist David Chandley is forecasting decreasing clouds Saturday afternoon, along with temperatures in the upper 40s.
Sunday will be sunny and cool, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 20s.
Chandley’s forecast for New Year’s Eve calls for mostly sunny skies during the day, with highs in the mid-50s and lows Monday night in the mid-40s.
There’s a 60 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, Chandley said, along with highs in the mid-50s.