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Sacramento Eyeing Super Bowl Traffic As City Prepares For New Arena

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Telecommunications Engineer Ryan Billeci monitors traffic in the downtown core from the Transportation Division's headquarters in Sacramento City Hall.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

A week of events for this year's Super Bowl is causing traffic delays and detours in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The City of Sacramento's Department of Public Works is hoping to learn from the Bay Area's problems and solutions in anticipation of a new Sacramento Kings arena opening this fall.

Ryan Billeci is a telecommunications engineer for the city. He says staff is preparing a plan to minimize traffic delays as the Sacramento Police close roads around the arena before events.

"We work with PD to set up timing plans and things based on what they're closing and whatnot so we could try to best manage the system as a whole," he says. "We try to do what we can with the system to try to alleviate them from having to do too much. I mean, if we can let the signals do it and it doesn't take an officer, it's better for everybody."

Billeci says it will likely take a couple of events to achieve optimum efficiency.

The Sacramento Kings development arm is paying for technological upgrades to intersections around the Golden 1 Center.

"We can do different things with controller on the fly much easier -either delay vehicles or maybe skip different directions if necessary," he says. "It's all stuff we haven't really done before. But without the tools, we wouldn't really have a chance to even attempt them.  So we're trying to get those tools in place so when we do need them, we can use them."

As the city plans for events, special attention is being paid to traffic on J, L and Q Streets. 

Billeci says this fall he expects traffic for Kings' games to flow more smoothly than it does currently at Sleep Train arena. 

"We have enough experience with some of these larger closures like we did with Boat Section and WX where we make predictions and we get it really close, but, it's never 100 percent. So, there will be tweaks those first days. And, that's where the system comes in where we can see what's happening, make that tweak for that next day."

He says Sleep Train arena has only three entry sites. The city has at least eight to get close to the Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento is studying the traffic patterns in the Bay Area and at other venues, including the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.