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Scramble to avoid Falcons traffic nightmare Friday | News

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Scramble to avoid Falcons traffic nightmare Friday

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- The Atlanta Falcons will make their preseason debut Friday night, and they'll play alongside what may be the city's biggest construction zone -- for the new Falcons stadium.

Traffic will be a mess regardless, because both Martin Luther King Drive and Spring Street are closed. The question is what will happen on Mitchell Street. It normally carries a lot of Georgia Dome traffic, but has been closed for months, thanks to stadium construction. It's supposed to open by Friday – unless it doesn't.

A drive from the state capitol to the Georgia Dome has become a circuitous route, with construction blocking access at the stadium site, leading to a meandering detour through the narrow streets of the adjacent Castleberry Hill community.

Construction of the new Falcons stadium has jolted Castleberry Hill. Noise and construction worker parking are problems. Traffic is even worse.

"So our roads in this tiny community weren't built for the traffic the would normally have, even when they're all open and functional," said Castleberry Hill resident Robin Gagnon. 

Among the dysfunctional roads is Mitchell Street -- the road city engineers expected to take up much of the slack for the closing of King Drive. It has been closed for months. At midday, workers were scrambling to put new asphalt on Mitchell Street to get it ready for an opening by Friday's Falcons game. Gagnon says she expects football fans will get what they want, because she says, they usually do.