NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma football team is not the only group that needs a game plan Saturday. Fans traveling to Norman for the game need one, too.
Ongoing construction work on Interstate 35 may cause traffic delays, and new requirements on what spectators can and cannot carry into the stadium may cause frustration at the gate. Fans would do well to plan ahead, police and OU officials said.
Kickoff for the Sooners' season opener with the University of Louisiana-Monroe is 6 p.m. Saturday.
Norman police advise motorists to allow plenty of time to get to the Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for kickoff. Police also recommend motorists take alternate routes that may help reduce traffic delays.
The biggest areas of concern are:
The I-35 overpass at Main Street, where entrance and exit ramps are closed because of work on the interchange.
The Canadian River bridge on I-35, just south of the State Highway 9E and Lindsey Street exits, where the roadway is narrowed to two lanes in both directions.
Northbound travelers to Norman should use State Highway 9 or Lindsey Street to access the stadium, police said.
Southbound travelers are urged to use Exit 113 — the left-lane exit onto U.S. 77 — or Exit 112, the Tecumseh Road exit. Either exit will allow motorists to avoid the I-35/Main Street construction zone.
Police have developed alternate routes to reach the stadium for southbound travelers who exit at U.S. 77 or Tecumseh Road. Officers will be on hand to direct traffic along the suggested routes beginning three hours before kickoff.
If possible, southbound motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes into Norman other than I-35.
Recommended alternatives are:
Western Avenue, or 60th Avenue NW, which has been widened to four lanes from Oklahoma City to Tecumseh Road.
Sunnylane Road, also known as Porter Avenue, and Sooner Road, also known as 12th Avenue NE, which also provide southbound entry into Norman's city limits.
All the alternate routes provide access to the same cross streets familiar to travelers, including Robinson, Main, Lindsey and SH 9.
The best advice for game-day attendees is to leave home early, allow plenty of time to get to the stadium and expect a certain amount of traffic delays, Norman police Capt. Tom Easley said.
All public street parking will be identified by signs and yellow curbs. Yellow curbs, fire lanes and tow zones will be monitored and the regulations enforced.
Parking is limited to one side of the street in many areas to allow adequate space for emergency vehicles to negotiate the roadway.
The university offers free parking at the Lloyd Noble Center. A shuttle runs continuously, starting three hours before game time until one hour after the game. The cost to ride the shuttle is $2 per round trip.
Police urge fans to park legally so their day isn't spoiled by a towed vehicle. Violations that can result in tows include blocking driveways, streets or alleys, or illegally parking in fire lanes, by a fire hydrant, on private property or in a handicapped spot.
Some policy changes this year may affect what fans plan to carry into the stadium. For example, women's purses must now be smaller than 10 inches by 10 inches. Only clear, empty water bottles will be allowed in for drinking water. No seat cushions or chair backs will be allowed in, although seat backs will be available for rent.
Lindy Roberts, OU's assistant athletic director for events and facilities, said no bags with merchandise will be allowed, even if the bag is clear. No bags, backpacks, string backpacks or fanny packs are allowed.
Roberts said these changes have been made to keep fans and the football team safe in the stadium, keep fans comfortable and prevent people from tripping or falling over large purses or bags.
Other items not allowed in the stadium include umbrellas, strollers, banners or signs and professional cameras.
All carried items and entrants are subject to search, Roberts said. Prohibited items must be returned to the owner's car or discarded. Any unlawful items are subject to confiscation, and the person in possession of such items is subject to arrest.
For a complete list of items not allowed in the stadium, a gameday travel map or a stadium map, go to www.