Braves, Falcons will bring heavy traffic to downtown this weekend

If you’re going anywhere near downtown Atlanta this weekend, here’s your fair warning: leave early, find an alternative route, take MARTA or change your plans.

On Sunday, the Falcons kick off at 1 p.m. against the 49ers – and the Braves start in what is their last regular-season game at 1:35 p.m. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the Falcons game at the Georgia Dome – which equates to heavy traffic on the Downtown Connector.

Sunday’s Braves’ game is also the last regular-season one for longtime manager Bobby Cox and a playoff spot could be at stake – but it’s a tribute to him on Saturday at 4 p.m. that’s likely going to bring the heaviest traffic to the Connector and I-20. Both Saturday's and Sunday's games are sellouts.

A couple of road races Sunday morning will close several streets near Oglethorpe University around 7 a.m.

That’s not the end of it. The Atlanta BBQ Festival at Atlantic Station; the Georgia State University Panthers' Homecoming football game against the Morehead State University Eagles; the BET Hip-Hop Awards; and the 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, centered around the downtown Marriott Marquis, are just some of Saturday’s events likely to clog the highways and surface roads in downtown and Midtown.

Atlanta police will close some roads and sidewalks around the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center for the BET awards Saturday night.

Starting at 12 p.m. Saturday, the following roads will be closed:

*Harris Street between Courtland Street to Piedmont Avenue.

*Baker-Highland Connector westbound between Central Park and Piedmont Avenue.

*Ralph McGill Boulevard to Courtland Street, both westbound and eastbound lanes.

*Currier Street from Courtland Street to Piedmont Avenue.

Atlanta police officers will be monitoring traffic in those areas, police said.

Motorists should take note that two exit ramps on I-20 eastbound in DeKalb County will be closed this weekend. The exit and entrance ramps at Panola Road and the exit ramp at Evans Mill Road will be closed until 5 a.m. Monday, according to the DOT. One right-hand lane between Wesley Chapel Road and Evans Mill Road also will be closed this weekend.

Traffic may be a problem, but the weather won’t be, according to Channel 2 Action News. The forecast calls for sunny skies throughout the weekend and highs in the upper 70s on Saturday and in the lower 70s on Sunday.

The lows are excpected to dip into the 40s and 50s at night, however, Channel 2 said.