Fans can expect road closures, heavy traffic and more for Florida Gators' home opener

Alan Festo
The Gainesville Sun

Fans headed to The Swamp on Saturday for the Florida football team's season opener against No. 8 Utah should expect plenty of traditional game-day experiences and several new enhancements. 

As one of the most highly anticipated season openers in Florida history, a sold-out crowd is expected for the 7 p.m. contest, and fans should plan to arrive early to avoid delays, according to Steve McClain, senior associate athletics director.

"To say that there's a high level of interest and excitement amongst the Gator Nation would be an understatement," McClain said. "Much of that has to do with Coach (Billy) Napier and what he's done in his short time here in the program. Our game day administrative team has also worked hard to provide some new opportunities and new experiences for our fans."

Ryan Linzmaier paints the south end zone of Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Thursday in preparation for the Gators' first game of the season on Saturday night against No. 8 Utah.

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Fans planning to tailgate should plan for some unexpected road closures due to some ongoing campus construction. Museum Road is closed from Newell Drive to Center Driver and from Gale Lemerand Drive to Hume West.

Three hours prior to kickoff, vehicles will no longer have access to University Avenue between Gale Lemerand Drive and Northwest 17th Street (Buckman Drive), Gale Lemerand Drive between University Avenue and Stadium Road, and Stadium Road between Gale Lemerand Drive and Fletcher Drive.

UF encourages fans to use the Waze traffic app, which updates live and includes construction zones, converted one-way streets and game-day closures.

Jason Smith, the director of sports turf, paints the 30-yard logo on the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as the crew prepares the field for the first game of the season, on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville FL. on Sept. 1, 2022. The Gators start the season Saturday against the No. 8 ranked Utah Utes.

Fans who choose to tailgate this year will have access to more mobile restrooms. The units have been set up at Parking Garages 109 and 114, Library West, the music school, the north lawn of the stadium and RV City outside Condron Family Ballpark.

Starting at 4 p.m. on the north lawn of the stadium, seven food trucks will be out serving food to hungry Gators, including Frios, Wing King Miami, Popadop's Kitchen, Cilantro Taco, Monsta Lobsta, Big Lee's BBQ and Pop Stroke. Swamp Head Brewery will once again be set up on the north lawn as well.

The popular Gator Walk will begin approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes before kickoff. 

As fans enter the stadium, which opens 90 minutes prior to kickoff,  it's important to remember that the clear bag policy remains in effect. Purses, backpacks, fanny packs and camera bags are prohibited.

Fans should download their tickets into their mobile wallet before they arrive at the gate to expedite the entry process. Screenshots of the tickets will not be accepted.

Inside the stadium, fans will be treated to an enhanced team entrance that will include flame towers, lights and smoke, as well as some refreshed versions of their favorite pregame videos. The video boards also have been reconfigured to offer a more fan-friendly layout for game stats and other information. 

Other pregame festivities planned include a military flyover — dependent on the weather — and Gator great Reidel Anthony as the honorary Mr. Two Bits.

Frontline workers from UF Health will be recognized during the game.