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Gameday: Are you ready for some traffic?

The State Fairgrounds parking lot renovation is nearing the final phase and will be ready for tailgaters to use for the Gamecock's football season. Football fans, fairgoers and event attenders will park in the grass on one of the 4100 parking spaces.
The State Fairgrounds parking lot renovation is nearing the final phase and will be ready for tailgaters to use for the Gamecock's football season. Football fans, fairgoers and event attenders will park in the grass on one of the 4100 parking spaces.

Gamecock football fans, you know the drill.

Leave early. Be patient.

And this year, expect to see a few minor changes as you head to Saturday's home opener against Florida Atlantic at Williams-Brice Stadium - in particular, renovations to parking spaces at the State Fairgrounds and a new traffic signal at a major intersection near the stadium.

"We are asking people to exercise a little patience as the (nearly 90) troopers will be dealing with a lot with the first home game," said Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Josef Robinson. "The important thing to remember is safety first."

Traffic along the roadways leading to Williams-Brice will be at its normal peak for game days in the hours leading up to the 7 p.m. kickoff.

Several traffic lanes around the stadium will be reversed to inbound-only beginning around 2 p.m.

Motorists will find a new traffic light at George Rogers Boulevard and Shop Road, where a left-turn lane has been added for motorists turning onto and off Shop Road.

But law enforcement officers will direct traffic at that light and other nearby intersections in the hours before and after the game.

Robinson encouraged those with assigned parking spaces to display their placards on their rearview mirrors and not to wait until the last minute to get into the correct turning lane.

"The only problem will come if they are not in the appropriate lanes for their (parking) gates," he said.

Those with parking spaces at the State Fairgrounds will be greeted by new surroundings, including color-coded parking sections, paved roadways and more green space.

Fairground parking will open at 2 p.m. In addition to assigned spaces, the fair will offer single-day tailgate parking at home games this year. The cost is $40 per vehicle, and drivers should enter through Gate 12 off Rosewood Drive.

State Fair manager Gary Goodman echoed the Highway Patrol's call for motorists to leave early.

"We hope everybody will come and enjoy themselves," Goodman said.

Traffic should be heavy for several hours after the game, when troopers will execute an exit plan that includes reversing several lanes in the outbound direction.

"Our main objective is to get people in and out of the game as quickly and as safely as possible," Robinson said.

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