Penn State Football

Penn State football’s last noon game was a traffic nightmare. Here’s what to expect vs. Purdue

Penn State football is set to take on Purdue at noon Saturday in the team’s Homecoming game, and that means high potential for heavy traffic into Centre County and around Beaver Stadium this weekend.

Ahead of Penn State’s last noon game, against Pitt on Sept. 14, fans reported waiting in traffic for up to two hours to get into the stadium.

Here’s everything you need to know about construction and Penn State’s “Run Your Route” parking and traffic flow changes to make sure you arrive to the game on time:

Atherton Street and U.S. Route 322 construction updates

After nearly three weeks of worse-than-usual delays due to paving and milling, Atherton Street is expected to be fully open Saturday and Sunday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Two lanes will be open in each direction to and from Penn State’s campus. Travelers could experience minor delays Friday due to pavement marking painting, but the delays are expected to be short.

U.S. Route 322 through the Seven Mountains will have a one-lane restriction in each direction this weekend from the Mifflin/Centre County line through Potters Mills, according to PennDOT. Travel delays should be expected.

With the noon kickoff time, the department of transportation also anticipates heavier than usual traffic on Friday and early Saturday. They’re encouraging motorists to check the conditions in advance by going to www.511PA.com and clicking the PSU Football Game Day Traffic Info link on the left side of the website.

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Traffic backs up on North Atherton Street by the Exxon station on on Sept. 27. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Advanced parking is sold out

Advanced-purchase parking for the game is sold out, according to Penn State. Those who want to park for the game and don’t already have a parking pass can purchase cash parking at the East Deck, the Eisenhower Deck, and the Nittany Deck for $25. They can also purchase cash parking in Lot Red A in West Campus for $15.

These lots will open at 7 a.m. Saturday and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the one-way parking pattern begins at 8:30 a.m., the East Deck, the Nittany Deck and Lot Red A can only be accessed from Atherton Street, while Eisenhower Deck can be reached from College Avenue.

The East Deck is expected to fill early Saturday, and Penn State is encouraging fans to travel directly to one of the other three cash parking areas.

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Penn State is implementing new traffic and parking changes this season, including a four-zone system and a one-way traffic pattern that starts four hours before kickoff. Penn State Graphic provided

Will there be any changes to ‘Run Your Route’?

Saturday will mark the fourth game since Penn State’s new parking and traffic pattern changes have taken effect. Developed by event logistics service SP+, the changes were intended to increase safety and efficiency with getting into and out of the stadium.

Despite widespread complaints on social media during the Pitt game, Penn State has said that the changes were generally going according to plan. However, it did acknowledge an unanticipated “major spike” in traffic prior to that game that the plan hadn’t accounted for.

“Overall, the feedback on the traffic pattern and parking system has been positive; although, we do recognize there are some individuals who feel they have been negatively impacted,” Penn State said in a statement. “The plan was built to create an overall improvement to the movement of up to 30,000 vehicles on roads never designed to handle such a load. We continue to review the data and video of each game’s operation, as well as the specifics on any complaints, to confirm whether it is more isolated or a fundamental issue.”

As part of the plan, a four-zone access system and one-way traffic pattern were implemented. The one-way traffic pattern around the stadium typically starts three hours prior to kickoff, and at 8:30 a.m. for noon games.

Since rolling out the new system at the beginning of the season, Penn State said it has made several changes and adjustments, including to staffing placement, traffic control, equipment signage and other communications, and plans to continue to evaluate and make adjustments. The university, however, did not go any further into specifics.

“During the two-week break (the bye week and away game at Maryland), we revisited with key operational stakeholders to be as thorough as possible,” Penn State said.

Since prior to the season, Penn State has encouraged communication and feedback from fans regarding the parking and traffic flow changes. Fans can report any issues using the hashtag #RunYourRoute on social media or by calling 1-800-NITTANY.

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