Fans will have 360 degree access to Memorial Stadium even as construction projects continue | State and Area News
CHRIS DUNKER Lincoln Journal Star
The rumble of foot traffic outside Memorial Stadium after last October’s game between the Huskers and Michigan was the result of several factors.
Construction of the $155 million football training complex closed the passage around the northeast side of the stadium.
A Saturday night televised game meant more production trucks were parked on Stadium Drive, plus a game that went to the wire kept 90,000 fans in their seats until the very end.
Once the Husker stalwarts started leaving, many felt like a running back behind an inexperienced offensive line. Fans said they needed 30 minutes or more just to move 100 yards north or south through the elbow-to-elbow crowd.
The situation was not unprecedented, but it proved enough of a headache that Nebraska Athletic Department officials took steps to prevent it from happening again this year ahead of the opening game. at home from 2:30 p.m. against North Dakota on Saturday – and beyond.
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The sidewalk that runs under the northeast corner of the stadium – which was closed when the old Ed Weir track was dug out and work began on the new training complex – will be open, Matt Davidson said , Associate Sporting Director for Event Management and Operations.
The walkway around Memorial Stadium will no longer be reduced to a horseshoe, Davidson said, which led to the density issue after the Michigan game and Garth Brooks concert in August of last year.
“Reopening the northeast corner of the stadium will alleviate some of that pressure,” Davidson said.
Although work on the training complex is expected to continue for another year, the athletic department worked with Hausmann Construction, the project’s general contractor, to open the northeast walkway to pedestrians, as well as the sidewalk going from east to west to north. side of the Memorial Stadium loop.
The reduced building footprint will also allow fans to enter through Gates 16 and 16A, which were closed to fans last year, Davidson added.
“We are very pleased that all the doors to our stadium will be open and that we will once again have 360 degree access around the stadium,” he said.
Brooke Hay, assistant vice president of facilities, planning and capital programs at the University of Nebraska, said UNL facilities planners worked with campus police and project managers to come up with alternate plans that will allow fans to get in and out of campus with minimal hassle. .
Even away from the stadium, in places like Architecture Hall, where construction is underway, Hay said the UNL has asked contractors to open up as much space as possible ahead of Saturday’s contest.
“We know there’s a large number of people moving down 10th Street and approaching the stadium from the southwest,” she said. “People are going to see things a lot more open on the weekends than they are during the week.”
Fans should also be aware of construction projects and closed sidewalks in the city center.
Sidewalks will not be accessible on the block bounded by Ninth, 10th, P and Q streets – where the offices of the Journal Star once stood.
To try to better accommodate pedestrians exiting the stadium and converging on 10th and Q streets after games, Lincoln police will close westbound Q Street between 10th and 11th streets when the deadline expires this season.
Drivers are reminded that prior to matches no traffic is permitted to enter the Haymarket on P, Q or R streets. There will also be restrictions on access to Ninth Street from the roundabout at Salt Creek Roadway before and after contests.
Davidson and Hay said fans should expect to see changes on campus almost every week throughout the fall, and should plan accordingly if they come to Lincoln for next week’s game against Georgia. Southern and the following week’s game against Oklahoma.
The highly anticipated rematch with the Sooners is expected to draw a large number of fans downtown.
“It’s a work in progress,” Hay said. “Almost every game will be slightly different in what we’re working on, but the goal will be for the fan experience to be the same for the most part.”
Photos: In awe of Memorial Stadium