9:34 PM EST, January 17, 2012
For more than a year, Indianapolis Interntaional Airport has been preparing for an aerial assault during the Super Bowl, and now they have a new emergency lane to help prevent thousands of fliers from missing their flights in the case of an accident.
At least 40,000 additional fans will be flying in and out of Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, and that's why airport police have planned for several worst case scenarios.
"This is going to be one of the last agencies or one of the last places that people have an experience at," said Indianapolis Airport Police Chief Bill Reardon. "We want to make sure the Indianapolis airport has done all we can to make that a smooth transition."
A main component of the new airport traffic flow plan involves the possibility of a major accident on Colonel H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive, which leads directly to the terminal. In the case of an accident, police would redirect drivers to a service road, around the accident and then back onto the terminal ramp thanks to a newly completed emergency access road.
"An access road, that's a wonderful idea," said Nancy Tynan, who lives in Fishers and has several friends flying in for the Super Bowl.
The airport master traffic plan also prepares for potential problems on the downward ramp leading away from the terminal.
"If there's a crash right there, we have set up traffic plans that will inform people to drive through the (parking) garage," chief Reardon said.
Officers have also planned for a massive crash on Interstate 70, which might close lanes in all directions.
"The chances of an entire interstate system being blocked is pretty remote, but we do have contingency plans set in place," Reardon said.
In that case, interstate traffic would be redirected via Washington Street and Ronald Reagan Parkway or the Sam Jones Expressway and South Perimeter Road, which starts at the old airport.
Even if you plan to steer away from the airport during the Super Bowl, these plans will benefit Hoosiers for years to come.
"If there is some type of traffic issue we have the ability set in place that we can provide the best service that we can for our local citizens," Reardon said.
The biggest traffic crunch during the Super Bowl will come in the hours after the game. The majority of fans will fly out of town Sunday night into Monday morning, and the airport is also making special plans for that. A parking lot will be converted into a rental car return area. They are also prepared to open up both the upper and lower terminal drop off ramps to departures.