Will the I-85 bridge collapse affect Braves traffic near SunTrust Park?

Traffic negotiates closed lanes as construction continues on Windy Ridge Parkway to SunTrust Park on the bridge over I-75 on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Atlanta. AJC photo: Curtis Compton

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Traffic negotiates closed lanes as construction continues on Windy Ridge Parkway to SunTrust Park on the bridge over I-75 on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Atlanta. AJC photo: Curtis Compton

The potential for major-league traffic tie-ups in the Atlanta Braves' new neighborhood has long weighed on the minds of wary commuters and officials tasked with addressing it.
The county and the state of Georgia have spent tens of millions of dollars to improve roads and intersections around the new stadium. The Braves have delayed game times, dispersed parking lots, and deployed traffic apps to ease congestion.
Then on the eve of the Braves' debut at SunTrust Park, a pivotal chunk of asphalt literally disappears. The I-85 bridge collapse is bound to snarl traffic for weeks if not months to come - and today will almost certainly be dreadful.
So what should baseball fans expect tonight?

“People just need to plan extra time,” WSB traffic reporter Doug Turnbull advised.

Cobb County  hasn't announced any changes to parking or traffic-routing plans as a result of the 85 disaster,

and the team’s official comments via Twitter have noted support of first responders who rushed to the scene of the fire, then collapse - but no mention of traffic impact:

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AJC transportation reporter David Wickert talked to officials about traffic planning before anyone imagined a portion of I-85 would be gone by game time. From his coverage:

“SunTrust Park sits just west of the junction of I-75 and I-285. Nearly 154,000 vehicles pass through that stretch of I-75 on an average day, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Tens of thousands more cruise local roads in the surrounding area, where some 65,000 people work.

The area will become even busier when the Braves open SunTrust Park and a mix of apartments, offices and shops adjacent to the stadium.

Traffic was already bad before the Braves announced the stadium development. In recent years it’s been worse as GDOT and Cobb County launched numerous road improvements, some linked to the stadium, others not.”

Exacerbating tonight’s potential traffic mess: the thousands of vacationers hitting the road to get out of town.

“The push of Spring Break traffic and the extra push on I-285 and I-75 with people avoiding the I-85 closure” will likely keep Turnbull busy later today.

Still, he isn’t predicting a dire trek to the ballpark - assuming travelers leave plenty of time to get there.

“It will be a soft opening, so the impact will not nearly be as adverse as if this were the real home opener,” he said.

That’s coming up soon, on April 14.