ARLINGTON — When the Super Bowl comes to North Texas next February, it won't just be a test of athletic skill; it will be the ultimate test of moving people around.
Getting to a game at Cowboys Stadium is already a challenge, but compared to the Super Bowl, Sunday's game was like a pre-season scrimmage.
The problems start outside the massive sports palace in Arlington. For security reasons, all the parking lots adjacent to the stadium and most of the surrounding streets will be closed off on February 6, 2011. That means lots nearby at Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor will be opened to Super Bowl visitors.
Inside the stadium and at three other remote locations, the Super Bowl transportation team will monitor about 100 traffic cameras. Their plan lets them direct police to problem spots and to provide assistance to stalled vehicles.
Even traffic lights can be re-timed.
"The personnel in the field communicating between transportation and police would communicate and implement that adjustment to the plan," explained Michael Morris, the transit guru for the Super Bowl host committee. "It is very complicated."
With tickets priced at $1,400 and events happening inside before the game, Morris said most fans will be in their seats 90 minutes early.
But things get even more complicated at the end of the big bame, since everyone tries to leave at once. Part of the plan calls for buses ready to go and reversing the flow of several streets.
"When you're watching the Super Bowl on TV, you're not really paying attention to how all these people got here," Morris said. "When you're working a Super Bowl, you forget a game's even going on."
The Super Bowl is expected to be an economic driver for North Texas, but it takes money to make money.
Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington are ponying up $10.5 million for the event, even though most cities are struggling with tight budgets for the upcoming year.