Ice slows fans entering Super Bowl venue

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on February 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 7 at 2:29 AM

ARLINGTON — Just when you thought the issues were over at Cowboys Stadium, we found more.

Four of the 10 entry gates to the Super Bowl venue were closed Sunday over concerns about falling ice. Other lines opened almost 90 minutes late.

There were more frustrations for fans who just wanted to get into the game.

The NFL opened the stadium's perimeter fence at 11:30 a.m. Thirty minutes later, the security lines were supposed to open so fans could flow into the stadium.

That time came and went.

Fans did their best to stay upbeat under sunny skies and seasonal temperatures in the low 50s, but Karen Sengewalt of Wheeling, West Virginia admitted that she was "a little disappointed."

"I have Jerry Jones' cell phone number, but he's not answering," she said.

David Caro of San Diego was slightly less diplomatic about it all. "The wait's horrible," he said.

The issue? Leftover ice on the roof of the world's largest domed stadium.

The NFL worked with the Arlington Fire Department to establish safe zones to protect fans from falling ice. That meant closing four gates. The league also delayed the opening of the gates that were not in the danger zone.

"That gate opened up at noon for you to wait for an hour to get into there," said a frustrated Brian Donley of Pittsburgh. "Nobody quite knows what's going on, and when it's going to start or anything else."

Cody Kellner of Waco was equally confused. "I don't know what's going on, but I hope they get us in pretty soon."

One gate finally did open, about an hour and 20 minutes late, leading to an impromptu celebration by the crowd.

But in the lines outside Cowboys Stadium, the lingering effects of Ice Storm 2011 left yet another bad impression for some visitors to North Texas.

"I think they're ill-prepared here, myself," said Robery Holloway of Salisbury, Maryland.

The delay — along with four closed gates — conspired to slow the arrival of tens of thousands of fans who were just arriving when the gates finally opened.

The Arlington fire department and the NFL originally planned to work throughout the night Saturday to clear the ice from the roof before the game.

HD Chopper 8 found workers still up there trying to clear it on Sunday, even as the first fans were entering Cowboys Stadium.

The stadium kept four of its 10 gates closed Sunday because of the danger to people entering the stadium and those who will be on the plaza.

Six people were hurt Friday when ice landed on them. They will all be okay.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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