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Drivers into Pittsburgh will have to deal with Super Saturday of sporting events

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review - Traffic backs up along Route 28 North on Friday afternoon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jasmine Goldband  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Traffic backs up along Route 28 North on Friday afternoon.
Mike Wereschagin - Pirates' Opening Day traffic caused long backups at Exit 1B off Interstate 279 South.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Wereschagin</em></div>Pirates' Opening Day traffic caused long backups at Exit 1B off  Interstate 279 South.
Mike Wereschagin - Traffic converges at Reedsdale Street on the North Shore for the Pirates' Opening Day game in PNC Park on Monday, April 1, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Mike Wereschagin</em></div>Traffic converges at Reedsdale Street on the North Shore for the Pirates' Opening Day game in PNC Park on Monday, April 1, 2013.

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Friday, April 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Games on.

Pittsburgh will host three major sporting events Saturday night — all anticipated sellouts — that could draw a combined 60,000 fans. Transportation and parking officials say they are prepared to handle the onslaught.

“It sounds like the perfect storm,” Alco Parking Corp. President Merrill Stabile said of the events scheduled to start within about an hour of each other.

The NCAA Division I men's ice hockey national championship game starts about 7 p.m. at Consol Energy Center in Uptown. A 7:05 p.m. Pirates game at PNC Park on the North Shore will bring the season's first Fireworks Night. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer team will open its season at 8 p.m. at Station Square's new Highmark Stadium.

“It helps that the events are spread out throughout different ends of town,” said David Onorato, executive director of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, which oversees about 8,800 garage spaces and hundreds of on-street spaces Downtown.

Fans could park in Downtown garages instead of near the respective venues, Onorato said. For example, people going to PNC Park could use the Fort Duquesne & Sixth or Ninth & Penn garages rather than parking on the North Shore; the Mellon Square and Oliver garages are an option near Consol.

Stabile said Port Authority of Allegheny County's T light-rail system has opened up more options, enabling people to park in the South Hills and ride the T into town or park in one section of Downtown and ride to another. Alco has about 15,000 spaces Downtown, on the North Shore and in the Strip District.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the agency will run extra double trains between Station Square and the North Shore before and after the baseball and hockey games. A train should arrive every 5 minutes, he said.

PennDOT plans road construction around the events.

“There's not much planned for this weekend that will impact traffic attending those events,” said Jim Struzzi, spokesman for District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.

Struzzi said the Squirrel Hill Tunnel will not close for repair work this weekend, as it did last weekend, and crews will limit lane closures in the tunnel to overnight Friday. A planned outbound Liberty Tunnel closure won't begin until two hours after either the Pirates game or the college hockey championship game ends, he said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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