UT explains game day traffic for football home opener


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee will be playing Appalachian State for the team’s first home football game. Unlike many games, the face-off will be on a Thursday. The university is taking steps to help with game day traffic.

“Business is still going, school will be in at the county schools, the public schools will be going, the private schools will be going,” said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch. “The only one that’s closed at this point is the university.”

Many Knoxville Area Transit buses will be running regular weekday routes. KAT encourages fans to use the buses. However, there will be KAT trolley shuttles to and from Neyland Stadium.

“We want everyone to have a great experience at the home opener,” said Rick Emmett, the City’s Downtown Coordinator. “To best assure a smooth, stress-free commute, fans are encouraged to arrive early, be patient if they encounter heavier-than-usual traffic congestion, and plan their parking options before driving to the game.”

The game will be September 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Vol Walk will begin at 5:15 p.m. and gates will open at 5:30 p.m.

Attendees must follow the stadium’s new bag policy. Small clutches will be allowed, as well as clear, gallon-sized, re-sealable plastic bags, and clear totes, which can be found at Volshops.Related:University of Tennessee changes bag policy at athletics events


The school encourages fans to have a back-up plan for parking just in case a desired parking lot is full.

“We expect those garages to be pretty full,” said Rick Emett, Knoxville’s Downtown Coordinator, who added that some downtown businesses might let employees go home early that day. “We’re thinking around 3:00 they may start freeing up, but just have alternate locations when you get there.”

The Civic Coliseum garage has more than 2,500 parking spots. Fans using the garage can get to campus by walking down Gay Street, cross Hall of Fame Drive in order to get to the Knoxville Station Transit Center or catch a bus on Cumberland Avenue. There will still be construction on Cumberland Avenue.

“If you are used to finding that secret parking space downtown that you’ve always parked at, it may very well have a meter now and we now have increased parking enforcement down there,” said Emett. “My advice would be don’t park at the parking meters.  You’re likely to get a ticket if you do.”

Regular downtown commuters and residents with a monthly parking subscription will be able to access garages before 3 p.m.

There will be spots available in public garages and lots.

  • Market Square Garage: Normal daytime rates. It will be free after 6 p.m. There will be free game-day parking once enough parking spots are set aside for monthly parking passes.
  • State Street Garage: Normal daytime rates. It will be free after 6 p.m.
  • Promenade Garage: No game-day parking
  • Main Street Garage: Game-day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
  • Locust Street Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
  • City County Building Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. and costs $20.
  • Dwight Kessel Garage: Game day parking will begin at 3 p.m. at $20.
  • Civic Coliseum Garage: RVs will be allowed for $35 for spots without utility hookups. There will be game day parking for $10 for other vehicles.
  • West Jackson Avenue lot: The lot is located west of Gay Street in Old City. It will have normal daytime rates and will be free after 6 p.m.
  • State Supreme Court: Game day parking will begin at noon.
  • Poplar Street lot: Game day parking begins at noon and will be $30.
  • Blackstock Avenue lot: RVs will be allowed for $25. Game day parking begins at 3 p.m. The cost is $10 for other vehicles.

Public Transportation

KAT trolley service will stop at 3 p.m in order to shuttle fans to Neyland Stadium. Shuttle service will begin at 4:30 p.m. and cost $6. There will be two downtown pickup spots: Jackson Avenue parking lot and the Civic Coliseum Garage. The Jackson Avenue parking lot is underneath Hall of Fame Drive and is free. Fans should expect long wait times.

Shuttles will resume picking up fans from Farragut High School and Market Square on September 17 for the game against Ohio University.

Fans can check the KAT bus schedule on the City of Knoxville’s website or KAT’s website. Unlimited day passes for round trips are available for $4. Buses will not accept credit or debit cards. Buses will run every 15 minutes for Route 31 (Magnolia), Route 11 (Kingston Pike) and Route 22 (Broadway). Buses for Clinton Highway, Central Street and Chapman Highway will run every 30 minutes. Buses will run until 11:15 p.m.

Traffic Patterns

Some streets will be closed or changed to one-way traffic. Attendees can visit the city’s website for a detailed plan.Before the game

  • UT Drive: It will be one-way south and east from Volunteer Boulevard to Lake Loudoun Boulevard.
  • Peyton Manning Pass: It will be closed 2.5 hours before kickoff.

After the game

  • Alcoa Highway: Ramps from Alcoa Highway to Neyland Drive will be closed.
  • Hall of Fame Drive: It will be closed southbound at Summit Hilll Drive. There will be no access to James White Parkway from Hall of Fame Drive at the Cal Johnson Recreation Center.
  • Kingston Pike: Eastbound will be closed at southbound Alcoa Highway.
  • Lake Loudoun Boulevard: It will be one-way south from Volunteer Boulevard to Neyland Drive.
  • Neyland Drive: It will be one-way eastbound from Lake Loudoun Boulevard to I-40; southbound Lake Loudoun Boulevard lanes turn west onto Neyland Drive; northbound Lake Loudoun Boulevard lanes turn east onto Neyland Drive. Westbound will be closed at Walnut Street. Eastbound will be closed at Kingston Pike. The eastbound ramp to Hall of Fame will be closed.
  • Phillip Fulmer Way: It will be one-way southbound from Andy Holt Aveneue to Lake Loudoun Boulevard.
  • Peyton Manning Pass: It will be one-way westbound from Phillip Fuller Way to Volunteer Boulevard.
  • 17th Street: It will be closed southbound at Clinch Avenue.
  • Volunteer Boulevard West: It will be closed at Joe Johnson Drive.
  • Cumberland Avenue: Westbound will be closed at Henley Street.
  • Clinch Avenue Viaduct between 11th Street and Henley Street: It will be one-way eastbound.
  • 11th Street: Southbound will be closed at Western Avneue.

Cumberland Avenue

Only one lane will be open on Cumberland Avenue in both directions. No left turns on the roadway will be allowed.Suggested Routes

  • Coming from the west: One option is to take Interstate 40/75 to southbound Alcoa Highway, then exit onto Neyland Drive. Once on Neyland Drive, motorists can access campus via Joe Johnson Drive. A second option is to take eastbound Kingston Pike to Neyland Drive.
  • Coming from the south: Take Chapman Highway and cross the Tennessee River into downtown using either the Henley Bridge or the Gay Street Bridge.

Fans can also drive northbound Alcoa Highway to Neyland Drive, and either access campus via Joe Johnson Drive or access City parking garages by continuing on Neyland into downtown.

  • Coming from north of Cumberland Avenue: Take southbound Broadway until it turns into Henley Street downtown; then turn right onto Western Avenue (to 11th Street) or onto Clinch Avenue to access Fort Sanders, or turn left onto Summit Hill Drive or Church Street to access the downtown garages.

If driving from I-40: Take southbound 17th Street to access side streets into Fort Sanders.

  • Coming from the east: Get off I-40 at James White Parkway to access downtown and parking.
  • To access destinations on the north side of Cumberland Avenue: Take southbound 17th Street to Cumberland Avenue; turn right onto Cumberland, then access businesses by turning right into their parking areas.
  • To access destinations on the south side of Cumberland: Take Neyland Drive to Joe Johnson Drive; turn left onto West Volunteer Boulevard; turn right onto Cumberland. Or: Take Alcoa Highway and the Kingston Pike exit; turn onto Cumberland; turn right into the business.

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