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Multiple Agencies Prepare for ‘Mass Transit Bowl’ [SERIES/AUDIO]

This week, we are taking a look at Super Bowl 48′s impact on New Jersey as part of a special five-day series.  In part two today, we look at the transportation and travel difficulties during this first-time event in our area.
Meadowlands Train Station (Flickr User Joevare)

Transportation and transit officials have worked together for over two years to put together a comprehensive plan to coordinate the first-ever ‘Mass Transit Bowl.’

NJ Transit will see a significant uptick in ridership throughout the various events during Super Bowl Week in New Jersey and, of course, on game day. The NFL Host Committee has told NJ Transit to expect about 12,000 people to be taking trains from the Secaucus Junction terminal out to Met Life Stadium.

Secaucus Junction (Flickr User jimcintosh)

William Smith, NJ Transit’s Senior Public Information Officer, said getting information out is their major concern.

“Not only to our regular customers, but to the visitors who are coming to our area, many of whom have never been to New Jersey before,” he said.

To help with getting their message out to the public, NJ Transit has launched a special website for the Super Bowl, which features details about events, schedules, and some of their special ticket packages. This will also be the spot for any emergency notifications and details on delays.

“We just want to remind people to be flexible and allow extra travel time,” Smith said. “There’s going to be a lot of new people that are visiting the system for the first time and to be patient with them.”

Since Super Bowl is a level-one national security event, multiple protocols will be in place for the transit aspect of the event. Some of the measures will be visible to the public, many will not. Regular drills have been conducted at airports and train stations to prepare for this one-of-a-kind regional event.

While Super Bowl has been hyped as the ‘Mass Transit Bowl,’ the New Jersey Department of Transportation certainly has their work cut out to keep roadways clear.

That aspect of the preparation includes both weather and general traffic concerns.

“We’ll be monitoring the roads and the weather, and making sure we have them clear for everybody who wants to enjoy these activities,” said Joe Dee, NJ DOT spokesman.

Meadowlands Sports Complex (Flickr User Dougtone)

Dee said snow clearing is the major concern, in the event of a storm. Crews will be on the ready around Met Life Stadium with plows and salt trucks to deal with any potential weather situations.

The transportation department also plans to beef up assets to clear disabled cars and crash scenes as soon as possible. Officials will be monitoring the area from their traffic management center, where they can identify most problems instantly.

“That’s all with the thought in mind of keeping traffic flowing and resuming normal traffic flow as quickly as possible, which reduces congestion,” Dee explained.

Dee echoed the NJ Transit sentiment that with so many new visitors to the area, efforts have been made to help people know where they are headed. Variable message signs will be set up for all roads leading to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and in areas holding large Super Bowl-related events.

“The signs will tell people which exits to take to get to the sports complex, and they’ll also provide just general information about traffic conditions.”

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In part three tomorrow, we examine the massive security measures in place for an event of this magnitude.

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