Troopers give inside look at game day traffic management

Published: Nov. 17, 2018 at 5:03 PM CST
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The Nebraska State Patrol was out in full force on the road and in the air on Saturday to make sure drivers made it safely to Lincoln for the Nebraska football game.

A long trail of cars stretched down Interstate 80 headed west around 9 a.m.

"Typical Saturday morning does not look like this on the interstate. For a Saturday morning, at 8 a.m., traffic is picking up significantly. It's not nearly as heavy out here when there isn't a game in Lincoln," Lt. Matt Sutter said.

Sutter said the NSP has been doing traffic management for years on game days.

"But we want to be out here making it safe, which is why we are out here and still visible. The enforcement effort is not our primary concern out here today. It's making sure flow of traffic is moving in a safe manner," he said.

While the patrol is on the ground, pilots are up in the air.

They get a bird's eye view of the traffic jams and are able to alert troopers on the ground to potential problems.

"If we have traffic slowing or coming to a stop and it's several miles ahead and we can't figure out why, they can fly over and tell us what the problem is," Sutter explained.

Back on the ground, a trooper near Nebraska Crossing Dr. and Highway 31 and Highway 6 controlled the traffic lights with a button.

"We can adjust timing of lights however we see fit that way and manually run it for whatever sequence isn't keeping up with volume of traffic. We can fix that ourselves," Sutter said.

Troopers also use social media as a tool. Sutter used Twitter to safely tweet out traffic information.

"We have Trooper Dave who does traffic reports for Husker Network," Sutter added.

Troopers said their traffic management has reduced the amount of game day accidents they've seen this year.

For now, the patrol's game day work is done. It will start all over again next football season.