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Traffic restrictions beginning ahead of Super Bowl

Deputy Mayor Jerry Sneed talks to media about traffic restrictions for the 2013 Super Bowl. Deputy Mayor Jerry Sneed talks to media about traffic restrictions for the 2013 Super Bowl.

New Orleans, La. — For the biggest game in football, the city and the NFL want the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to be the safest place on the planet.  But some locals will undoubtedly be inconvenienced by the traffic restrictions, which begin Saturday.

City officials said the Superdome exit near Claiborne Avenue, which takes motorists around the back of the Dome, is closing.  So are some roads behind the Dome.

"It's really going to affect the people that come into work and sneak out of work going that back way," said Deputy Mayor Jerry Sneed.

Col. Sneed says it's all part of the meticulous security planning for the February 3 game.

"All along we have to have a secure area back there, and if it's closed off… we know better what's back there, how we can control things if something should pop up during the Super Bowl itself.  We know we've got a really secure area that will help us verify what to do and how to handle that situation," Sneed said.

Sneed said the next phase of road closures comes at the end of this month, affecting parts of Poydras around the front of the Dome.

"There's a lot of items that are going to be put on Poydras, such as that's where everybody is going to come in.  You have all your magnetometers, tents, and so forth," Sneed continued.

Some people working and doing business in the area are already eyeing alternate parking spots.

"I have somewhere to park, I park on the premises where I work at," said one worker.

Sneed said people who have contracts to park in the Dome's garage will have access until the Friday before the big game.  "People who have that contract parking, those contractors are letting them know how they do it -- they'll just come in a little slightly different way," he said.

Sneed said New Orleanians are team players and will be very accommodating and hospitable during this unique situation, when the Super Bowl happens in the midst of the Carnival season. However, he said having the stadium in the middle of the city has its inherent challenges for an event this size.

"In some ways it's much harder to secure that area because it's an everyday working area," he said.

But New Orleans has a big advantage because it has successfully hosted a number of Super Bowls.

"Visitors can walk from almost any hotel and get to it, so we're not going to have, we think, we're not going to have the traffic problems that others have, such as Dallas did," said Sneed.

Updates on traffic restrictions can be found on the city website: bowl.

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