Tips for the road trip to see UF play Arkansas
Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 2:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 2:07 p.m.
Like a football player rushing for the end zone, Gator fans planning on making the drive to see this weekend’s game in Arkansas should make sure they don’t zig when they should have zagged.
Travel Tips for Tailgators
If heading to the Gator game in Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend, AAA suggests the following route:
- Take Interstate 75 out of Gainesville and head north to I-10.
- Travel west on I-10 and exit north on U.S. 231.
- Take U.S. 231 to Montgomery, Ala., and switch to I-65.
- Go north on I-65 to Birmingham, Ala., then take U.S. 78.
- Drive west on U.S. 78 through Mississippi to Memphis.
- Switch to I-40 in Tennessee and travel west into Arkansas.
- Take I-540 north to Fayetteville, Ark.
AAA weighed in this week on the route fans should take to reach Fayetteville, Ark., and watch the Gator football team. And, the travel organization reported, there are areas along the approximately 970 miles of roadway that drivers should plan to avoid if they don’t want to pay higher gas prices, wait in long lines at the pumps or find themselves without any gasoline.
The route to avoid is along Interstate 20 between Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., said Randy Bly, director of community relations for AAA Auto Club South.
“Don’t even tell anyone to go that way,” Bly said he was told when he began researching a travel route for Gators heading north from Gainesville.
Last weekend, gas shortages in Georgia prompted talk that football fans might not make the game when the University of Alabama played the University of Georgia. The police chief for UGA suggested some fans who couldn’t make a trip to the stadium with a single tank of gas should stay home. And predictions are gasoline levels won’t be back to normal in Birmingham for about another two weeks, according to The Birmingham News.
The shortages are due to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which forced oil refinery shutdowns. The flow of gasoline has been stilted in the Southeast as refineries get back up and running, and stations try to deal with customers stockpiling gasoline by purchasing large amounts of fuel.
To avoid I-20, Gainesville travelers should take I-75 north to I-10, head west and then get off at U.S. 231, Bly said. The road will take motorists to Montgomery, Ala., where they then should switch to I-65 and head north to Birmingham. Once there, drivers should head northwest on U.S. 78, traveling through Mississippi and to Memphis. In Tennessee, drivers need to head west along I-40 into Arkansas before switching onto I-540 and going north to Fayetteville.
The University of Florida Athletic Association couldn’t say how many people might be on the road to Arkansas this week but all 8,000 tickets that went on sale to Gator fans have been sold out.
Bly cautioned that travelers could still run into spot outages along the route, although state police in Arkansas said there haven’t been any reports of people waiting in fuel lines in their state.
With refineries trying to catch up on the demand, Bly said drivers also may see stations with regular unleaded gas but no mid-grade or premium gasoline. At the moment, refineries are more focused on improving the supply of regular unleaded gas than the higher grade fuels.
Bly suggested fans heading to Arkansas carpool and always watch their gas tank gauges.
“You should start looking for fuel when at the halfway mark,” Bly said. If drivers follow that advice, they should find gasoline long before their gas tank nears empty. Gas prices for unleaded fuel along the route should range from approximately $3.86 in Tennessee to $3.38 in Fayetteville, according to AAA Wednesday. Prices in the Birmingham area were reported at about $3.78 and $3.86 in Memphis this week, while fuel costs were about $3.62 in Mississippi compared to $3.38 in Fayetteville.
Weather in Fayetteville Saturday should be in the low 80s with lows in the upper 50s and a slight chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.
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