Traffic effects from next week's Thursday night football game at Commonwealth Stadium are expected to be felt well off campus.
For the first time since 1939, a University of Kentucky football home game will occur on a weeknight, and that has caused a unique set of challenges for campus and city police, and parking and transportation officials.
Incoming traffic for the football game against Auburn University, set to start at 7 p.m. Oct. 15, will coincide with Keeneland traffic and usual weekday rush-hour traffic.
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City and campus officials began collaborating last year to plan how to keep things running smoothly, UK President Eli Capilouto said.
"We realize that parking and transportation on game day will not be without its challenges," he said.
Commuting students will be expected to park at Southland Christian Church on Richmond Road under a collaboration among the university, Southland and the neighboring Home Depot, according to the plan laid out on the UK website.
Free shuttles will take students from the parking area on Richmond Road to various areas on campus, UK police Chief Joe Monroe said.
"A Thursday night game ... means new challenges because it is a work day," Mayor Jim Gray said. "Everyone should pay more attention as they're traveling, going home, and fans will have to be especially careful going to and from the game."
UK employees will be able to park in structures around campus, but they are being encouraged to move their cars before 5 p.m. the day of the game, Monroe said. Employee and student commutes might take longer than usual.
"We're just asking everyone to plan ahead, be a little bit patient," Lexington police Chief Mark Barnard said.
Traffic signals on Nicholasville Road, which usually has all but one lane moving outbound during rush hour, will divide inbound and outbound lanes equally on game day, Barnard said.
UK HealthCare also will adapt for the game.
The sold-out game will be a showcase for the city, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said.
"And we want it to be a showcase," Barnhart said. "We want to have 60,000 people in the stadium plus, and we want to have an incredible day ... and an opportunity to showcase our city very uniquely."
Police and city officials encourage people living, working and studying in Lexington to go online to keep an eye on travel information that day at www.uky.edu/evpfa/thursdayfootball.
"So let's do what university cities do, enjoy, have fun, unite behind our team and keep everyone safe," Gray said.