COLUMBIA — When the Missouri Tigers face off against Nebraska's Cornhuskers on Thursday, it will be the first midweek game hosted by MU in 17 years. Tens of thousands are expected to flood Memorial Stadium for the 8 p.m. game, which will be nationally televised on ESPN.
The influx of people means that thousands of students and employees will be displaced from their parking spaces in lots and garages surrounding the stadium by 4 p.m. on Thursday. Tiger Scholarship Fund donor parking and public parking lots will open at 4:30 p.m.
Chad Moller, MU athletics department spokesman, said the game is expected to sell out, reaching the stadium’s 71,004 official capacity. Officials are emphasizing the importance of fan cooperation, as the MU campus will experience dense traffic and crowds throughout the evening.
Here’s what fans, the MU community and Columbia residents need to know:
- The university will not cancel classes or close campus for this game. However, some teachers are canceling class or dismissing early.
- Jim Joy, director of MU Parking and Transportation Services, said more than 7,000 MU students and 800 employees may expect to relocate their cars by 4 p.m. from parking lots and garages around Memorial Stadium on Thursday.
- Students who park in lots such as Hearnes Center are required to move their cars to any lot, garage or metered parking space north of Rollins Street.
- Parking lots will open to the public at 4:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. kickoff.
- Students, faculty and staff with permits may park in Tiger Scholarship Fund donor lots and parking garages until noon on Thursday. Those who choose to leave a lot or garage after 12 p.m. will not be allowed re-entry.
- MU Police Department encourages students, faculty and staff with permits to return to their original parking spaces before 8 a.m. Friday to prevent morning traffic.
- MU Parking and Transportation Services is encouraging workplaces downtown and on campus to send employees home by 3 p.m. Thursday to avoid traffic congestion.
- Expect traffic delays in the late afternoon and evening, especially from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. and 7:15 to 8 p.m.
More about parking
- The Maryland Avenue parking garage and Parking Structure No. 7 near University Hospital will not be open to the public for parking as it typically is for Saturday home games. These garages will be restricted to student and employee parking only, Joy said.
- Because of these garage restrictions, there will be about 2,000 fewer game-day parking spaces than normal.
- The five on-campus garages open to the public free of charge are Conley Avenue, Hitt Street, Turner Avenue, University Avenue and Virginia Avenue.
- Reactor Field (Lot R) is reserved for media and employees only and will not be available to the public.
- Tiger Scholarship Fund donors shouldn’t arrive earlier than 4:30 p.m. to park in donor lots. Those arriving early will have to circle around and wait for the lots to open.
Towing and tickets
- MU Police Department towed nearly 100 cars in donor lots in the first two home games of the year. MU Police Chief Jack Watring said that towing and ticketing are always possible, but that the department will be lenient in handling parking in this case.
- The city of Columbia will offer alternative bus and shuttle routes, but expect pedestrian and construction delays as you would for a Saturday game. The complete route schedule can be found on the city’s Web site.
- Tailgating lots will open at 4:30 p.m. instead of five hours prior to game time like usual.
- According to MizzouGameday.com, the following roads are restricted to permit holders only starting at 5 p.m. Thursday and will remain closed after the game until determined by law enforcement: Monk Drive, Mick Deaver Drive, Mick Deaver Extension, Research Drive and Champions Drive.
- Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol prohibit parking on the shoulder of either side of Providence Road, from Stadium Boulevard south to Reactor Field. Cones are placed on the prohibited areas to facilitate pedestrian walkways to the stadium on Providence.
- MU Police Department will have about 100 people working under its jurisdiction Thursday, which includes parking lot, garage and traffic enforcement, as well as campus and stadium safety.
- The police department will monitor tailgating more closely after the minor incidents on Providence Road that occurred before the MU-Furman game. Watring said police discourage placing tailgating tents near the gutter of the road because it creates a dangerous situation on a busy road.
- Watring said everyone on campus should be tolerant of others as this is a large event and will take time to organize.
- Those who leave near or at the end of the game should expect to wait in traffic at least 20 to 30 minutes after it ends for fans to clear the stadium and cross major intersections. Watring said it took nearly two hours to clear all traffic after MU’s game against Bowling Green. Keep in mind that the Nebraska game is projected to sell out.
For more information
- Watring said fans should refer to MizzouGameday.com for complete information and what to expect for pre- and post-game traffic flow, and to call the MU Police Department at 882-7201 in case of game-day difficulties.
- Columbia Parks and Recreation deliberately did not schedule softball games this Thursday because of the game.
Chad Moller, MU Athletics spokesman
Jim Joy, MU Parking and Transportation Services director
Jack Watring, MUPD police chief