Atlanta interstate collapse complicates Braves’ stadium debut

The Atlanta Braves stretch as the team holds their first workout in their new baseball stadium Thursday, March 30, 2017, at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — The collapse of a section of an interstate in Atlanta has heightened traffic concerns for the Braves’ first game at new SunTrust Park.

The Braves are encouraging fans to adjust their plans to attend Friday night’s exhibition against the New York Yankees. Only season-ticket holders are invited, but now the path to the stadium for those estimated 20,000 fans has become more challenging.

The stadium is located near the interchange of I-75 and I-285 in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The section of interstate collapsed Thursday because of a fire on I-85. Traffic will be directed from that major road to other interstates, including those flanking the stadium.

The stadium seats 41,000. But even with a smaller crowd, the Braves already were expecting traffic congestion Friday, with fans traveling to the park for the first time and finding their way to parking lots. With both sides of I-85 closed as repairs began, traffic worries are now even greater in a city well accustomed to such problems.

The Braves urged fans to be aware of changes before leaving for the game.

“Traffic patterns in Atlanta will be adjusted for everyone, so please listen to local authorities as they direct you around the metro area,” the team said in a statement. “Also, we encourage all fans to purchase their parking before they leave today.”

The Braves’ first regular-season home game is April 14 against the San Diego Padres. They open the regular season Monday at the New York Mets.

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