Updated September 13, 2021 - 1:35 pm
Are you ready for some … traffic?
The Raiders are set to kick off their 2021 NFL regular season under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, meaning game day traffic will blend with weekday commuter traffic.
With around 65,000 people expected to attend the first meaningful NFL game at Allegiant Stadium with fans in the stands, the 5:15 p.m. start time will add to the usual traffic woes during peak travel times.
The game marks the first time an event at the $2 billion facility is occurring on a weekday amid the rush hour. It will present a new challenge for officials who have been fine-tuning the parking and transportation plan with each event that occurs there.
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who has played a key role in the evolving traffic plan, recommends fans head to the stadium long before the game begins to avoid the worst of the traffic congestion.
“I think as always, but even more so for this game, myself, the county, the stadium and all the stakeholders are trying to encourage people to arrive early, as much as possible,” Naft said. “That is going to be even more significant for what will be our first weekday afternoon, early evening event. … We’re asking the community for a little bit of patience for what will be the first event that potentially conflicts with rush hour traffic.”
Fans can arrive at the stadium to park and tailgate starting at 1 p.m., so a staggered arrival should be expected. The Hacienda Avenue bridge will shut to vehicle traffic at noon, allowing fans to begin the trek to the stadium area ahead of time.
But since this is a weekday game, some attendees may be coming straight from work close to kickoff, which could make Interstate 15 near the stadium seem like a parking lot at times.
Through the first handful of events at the stadium, the main traffic trouble spots have been I-15 near the Russell Road and Tropicana Avenue offramps. Additionally, traffic builds up on Russell near the stadium and Tropicana near Dean Martin Drive.
Naft has a potential workaround for fans to miss the bulk of the traffic congestion.
“I always tell everyone, particularly locals, to arrive from the west,” Naft said. “Whether you’re being dropped off or you’re choosing one of the lots, the lots on the west I think have much less of a conflict for people with the I-15.”
Naft encouraged fans to take the 215 Beltway to the Decatur Boulevard exit, then head north on Decatur to Russell, where they’ll head east. From there fans can continue to Valley View Boulevard to access the west area lots, or continue down Russell to Polaris Avenue if they’re parking in one of the lots near the stadium.
As is the case with other events, the Regional Transportation Commission has been displaying messages on digital signage on area freeways alerting motorists to the game.
“The digital boards display reminders about special events seven days prior and reinforce the importance of planning your route ahead of time,” said Angela Castro, RTC spokeswoman. “We strongly encourage drivers and game attendees to plan their transportation and parking well in advance, and use navigation apps such as Waze for real-time traffic updates on special event days.”
For fans planning to ride the RTC’s Game Day Express buses to the game, Castro recommends they buy passes in advance on one of four smartphone apps: rideRTC, Transit, Lyft and Uber. Passes are available one week prior to home games and can be used only on game day.
“I think it’s a wonderful option for Raiders games,” Naft said. “Not only does it alleviate congestion, but it also helps the environment.”