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Managing traffic, parking in Columbia ahead of South Carolina Gamecocks kickoff

Highway Patrol plans to have over 100 troopers to help with safety and traffic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fans will soon be navigating to Williams Brice stadium for the Gamecocks' college football season kickoff and Columbia is about to get a lot busier.

At 7:30 p.m., the University of South Carolina hosts its first game of the season against Georgia State. 

"First games can be some of the most exciting and most hectic for a lot of people and visitors," says Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. 

Highway patrol plans to have over 100 troopers assisting with parking and helping direct traffic.  

"Pack your patience, arrive early, often times we see when the home teams and visiting teams historically come in two hours before kick-off," Jones said. "So, with a 7:30 p.m. kick-off, know that traffic will be completely stopped at 5:30 p.m. when the Gamecocks arrive," Jones said. 

"We urge you to take I-77 to Bluff Road, that's your biggest corridor, and a couple of hours before kick-off we will reverse all the lanes to allow all traffic to flow into the stadium, and post-game those same lanes will be reversed to allow traffic to leave the stadium," he added.  

RELATED: 'Practicing, practicing, practicing': How USC cheer and dance teams are getting ready for gameday

Katie Moore, a student, said that to avoid traffic frustration, she will not be driving. 

"I typically, on gameday,  don't plan on driving anywhere because there's no point - everything's backed up," she said. "And unless you want to pay for really expensive parking, I typically just walk anywhere near the stadium." 

Trooper Jones had one final message for those headed to the game.

RELATED: The dos and don'ts of gameday parking at Williams-Brice

"For those coming to this football stadium planning to party, we want you to have a good time, but we want you to have a good time responsibly," he said. "Make sure you have that designated driver plan before you come and have your first drink." 

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

The game can be watched on ESPN+.

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