Coliseum Adds New Parking Alternatives

As barricades were put up to help better direct the flow of Coliseum traffic, Ashley Knowles of Grand Bay, Alabama, her relatives and friends tailgated hours before the concert began.

"The traffic coming in, even as early as 11 o'clock when we were coming over, was very bumper to bumper and kind of grid locked," Knowles said.

Knowles had good seats, and probably one of the best parking spots at the Coliseum, thanks to a little research before they took the road trip.

"We had heard that the traffic was going to be very, very heavy tonight with the construction going on, so we decided we'd get a head start on the traffic. And we showed up to the coliseum at 12:30 p.m.," Knowles said.

Parking has been limited at the Coliseum since construction began on the 200,000 square foot convention expansion late last year.

"Basically the lay down area of the expansion, as it's going right now has taken probably 25 percent of the parking area. We'll get a good bit of that back once the convention center opens up," said Coliseum Director Bill Holmes.

Concert goers have been able to catch shuttle buses from the nearby Holiday Inn since October. And on Saturday, for the first time, the Broadwater Golf Course was open to commuters. It will be used on a temporary basis to provide additional parking for concert goers to shows yet to be announced.

"We do have maybe four more of these shows, that are soon to be announced, that we know will sell out between now and the end of June," Holmes said.

But for now, fans like New Orleanian Jeff Morris, are just glad for the parking alternatives.

"Parking in the free parking, that's a nice being from New Orleans, you never see free parking. I like that, and I love Mississippi, especially South Mississippi," Morris said.

Holmes says he expects parking to be back at full capacity on the Coliseum grounds by this time next year. He believes the Popps Ferry Road connecter road, which is slated to open up in the future will also help alleviate traffic woes.