Be patient for the game
As Hamilton gears up for the biggest mid-week sporting fixture in decades, the city’s commuters are being urged to exercise patience and courtesy and consider public transport options.
The Chiefs will play the British & Irish Lions at FMG Stadium Waikato today as part of the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017. The ground’s crowd capacity has been increased to 30,000 with the addition of a temporary stand at the Tristram St end of the stadium.
Jason Harrison, Hamilton City Council’s City Transport Manager, says the size of the match crowd and the scheduling of the game means there will be impacts on traffic around FMG Stadium Waikato.
“Because we need to get 30,000 people in and out of the stadium safely, we will be closing several streets around the venue before, during and after the match,” Mr Harrison says.
The traffic management around FMG Stadium Waikato begins at 6pm and runs until 10.30pm. It covers Mill St, Tristram St and Seddon Rd, with Mill St past the stadium closed from 6pm for the duration of the game.
Mr Harrison encouraged the city’s motorists and people visiting for the match to be courteous and patient in next Tuesday’s traffic, and consider using Waikato Regional Council’s public transport service and carpooling with friends or work colleagues to minimise congestion.
“BUSIT’s free rugby shuttles will operate from 6pm, leaving Hood St approximately every seven minutes and following the usual circular route incorporating Victoria St, Ulster St, Mill St, Norton Rd, Bryce St, Anglesea St and Alexandra St,” says Waikato Regional Council’s Transport Operations Manager Andrew Wilson.
“We provide these additional services to get patrons to the ground and ease some of the burden on the city’s road network on game day.”
Hamilton City Council has also marked walking routes to the stadium, from Claudelands— the location of a temporary campervan park for visiting British & Irish Lions fans— and the central city. Mr Harrison urged fans to consider walking to the venue to avoid contributing to the congestion.
The concrete area opposite FMG Stadium on Mill St— next to the Stadium Bowling Club and sometimes known as “pit lane”— will also be unavailable to commuters and general public for parking on Tuesday.
Chad Hooker, the Council’s Major Events Director, is also urging fans to arrive early and “travel light” if they’re heading to the game.
“As a general rule, we search people’s bags as they enter FMG Stadium Waikato and we can speed up everyone’s entry to the venue if there are fewer bags to look through,” he says.
“It’s about getting people in and out of the venue as smoothly as we can and if people don’t need bags for the game, we’re asking them not to bring them in.”
■ The match kicks off at 7.30pm, and gates at FMG Stadium Waikato will open at 5.30pm.