LSU officials working to address increased traffic due to Tiger Stadium expansion
While three crews have been working around-the-clock shifts to complete the $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium in time for LSU's first home game of the season on Sept. 6, LSU officials have been working on a different project—namely, how to deal with gameday traffic, which was already a problem and will now be a bigger one with some 8,000 additional seats.
"It's a problem—the elephant in the room—I'm not going to sugarcoat it," says Ret. Gen. Ronald Richard, president and CEO of the Tiger Athletic Foundation. "Ingress, egress and parking are all an issue."
A potential solution for the upcoming season is already in the works, however. TAF recently commissioned a study that addresses parking and gameday traffic. On April 10, it will unveil the results and present a new traffic and parking plan for the upcoming season.
"It's going to be the same system, but other things will be involved," says Richard, who declines to disclose details yet. "It's not going to be business as usual."
Richard says part of the impetus behind the study was to improve attendance at the games, which is down about 5% on average.
"We're sold out, but attendance is down, which is the case around the country," he says. "We want to fix that and create a better gameday experience."
TAF has also commissioned a study of the economic impact LSU football has on Baton Rouge and Louisiana. The results of that study, recently completed by economist Loren Scott, will also be unveiled April 10.
"We want everyone to recognize the importance of LSU football to this state," he says. "People are going to be blown away when they see the impact of seven days of football on this community and this state."
TAF, which is a nonprofit foundation, has spent more than $400 million over the past decade on athletic construction projects, including nearly $300 million on Tiger Stadium improvements. The current project, which will bring the stadium's capacity to more than 100,000, is on schedule, Richard says, despite falling behind earlier this year.
"Weather was a problem," Richard says. "But, ironically, they caught up right after the ice storms."
Richard says contractors Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, Ala., and the Lafayette-based Lemoine Co. have three crews working eight-hour shifts to complete the expansion on time.
"I'm completely satisfied we're going to meet the deadline," he says. "We have a guaranteed price—a fixed price unless we change something."
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