LIVE UPDATES: SunTrust Park Traffic

Credit: Meris Lutz / AJC

Credit: Meris Lutz / AJC

The fate of the Braves at their home opener was uncertain as game time approached Friday evening. But fans and other commuters scored a big win getting to  the team’s home opener at SunTrust Park.

Traffic on the Perimeter and Cobb Parkway backed up as expected. But for the most part traffic flowed smoothly on roads and highways around the stadium, and fans reported few problems.

To prepare for the new stadium, Cobb County and the state spent tens of millions of dollars in road improvements, pedestrian bridges and a Cumberland Mall-area shuttle service. The Braves pushed back weekday game times to 7:30 p.m., dispersed parking across a wide area and begged fans to buy tickets and parking in advance to limit aimless driving.

Those preparations appeared to pay off Friday. Light traffic at the beginning of a holiday weekend also helped. Except for a couple of stalled vehicles on the Perimeter, the Georgia Department of Transportation reported no significant traffic incidents.

"Traffic dispersed the way we thought it would. There's some stuff we need to work on but we're very pleased," saidJim Wilgus Cobb Department of Transportation director.
As for whether Good Friday and school vacation had any impact, Wilgus said Monday would be a big test as the first day back from vacation.

But by 6:30 this Friday evening – an hour before the scheduled  game time – rush hour was all but over.

6:30 p.m.

Traffic was thinning on I-285 and Cobb Parkway near SunTrust Park. Traffic on I-75 remained relatively light. The worst of rush hour has passed without any significant incidents near the stadium. Circle 75 Parkway is almost entirely clear.

6:26 p.m.

An hour before the start of the game at SunTrust Park, vehicular and pedestrian traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly.

A feared bottleneck at U.S. 41 and Circle 75 Parkway failed to materialize and all three pedestrian bridges to the ballpark were in heavy use, including the unfinished multi-use bridge over I-285.

The Braves’ final push to convince fans to buy parking ahead -- even going as far as not accepting payment on game day -- also appeared to be paying off as attendants and police directed cars into prepaid lots.

6:01 p.m.

Westbound 285 remained congested near SunTrust Park, as did Cobb Parkway near the stadium. I-75 remains relatively clear, and the Georgia Department of Transportation reports no accidents in the area at this time.

6 p.m.

The wreck at southbound I-285 and Atlanta Road has now been cleared to the right shoulder of the highway, and no lanes are blocked.

5:56 p.m.

A wreck on southbound I-285 at Atlanta Road has blocked the two left lanes.

5:33 p.m.

Lot south B9 and the red lot are still accepting cars. Both are prepaid parking. As the AJC reported earlier this week, the braves are not accepting payment for parking today so most if not all cars will have bought parking ahead of time. Circle 75 Parkway is packed but moving all the way down to US 41.

5:31 p.m.At 5:30 p.m., traffic on I-285 was still congested near SunTrust Park. Traffic on I-75 remained relatively clear, and there were no other traffic incidents in the area.

4:45 p.m.Jim Wilgus, head of Cobb DOT, said the traffic is "doing very well right now." He estimated it would peak between 5:30 and 6:00.

"People are learning where they can cross the street and how to get over to their lanes, so we're seeing some strange moves out there from individual cars," he said. "There's a lot of use of the bridge over 285."

He also pointed to slight congestion at the red parking deck.

Since the exhibition game on March 31 which saw some backup where 41 turns onto Circle 75, Wilgus said the county had changed some signage. The changes were successfully routing more cars into Windy Ridge, he said.

"We're getting a lot more traffic On Windy Ridge, which is where we want it," he said.


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4:23 p.m.

Rush hour traffic is picking up on the Perimeter near SunTrust Park. But I-75 appears to be moving smoothly and there are no major accidents in the area, the Georgia Department of Transportation tells the AJC.

4:17 p.m.

Circle 75 Parkway is starting to back up leading to the red parking deck. It’s moving, but getting backed up towards the 3rd-base gate.

4:08 p.m.

At the regular Cobb County Commission meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Bob Ott said the biggest potential choke point would be the area of Circle 75 and U.S. 41. He urged fans to “trust Waze” to get them to the ballpark.

3:59 p.m.

There was fairly light traffic at the intersection of Windy Ridge and Circle 75 Parkway. The pedestrian bridges were being put to use. Check out these photos from today's opener.

Credit: Meris Lutz / AJC

Credit: Meris Lutz / AJC

3:47 p.m. 

“I expect it will be worse on a regular work day,” Brian Mohs said of traffic.

The Mohs drove from Johns Creek using Waze taking 400 to 285.

“It was easy,” he said, adding that they bought parking ahead of time. “We were worried it would be sold out.”

“I expect it will be worse on a regular work day,” he said of traffic. He took the day off of work to drive down early.

He said he liked the “tailgating atmosphere” in the more comfortable environment.

“At Turner Field you were sitting in a parking lot,” he said.

3:36 p.m. 

Stephen Sharenko works in distribution and lives in midtown. He and his wife said they had no problem getting to the stadium with Uber.

Sharenko said he supports public transportation but probably wouldn’t brave the bus because ride sharing is easier.

“It’s 2017, I’ll just press some buttons on my phone and arrive at the stadium,” he said.

He was very impressed with the stadium and The Battery.

“I expected it to be huge and a ton of people and a ton of food and drink and that’s what we’re getting,” he said. “This is the dream for a family.”