While this city has been recognized as one of the country’s most livable, is home to more than 446 bridges and boasts an impressive six Super Bowl wins, one thing Pittsburgh isn’t exactly known for its ease of traffic flow. The Fort Pitt Tunnels that present drivers with the breathtaking view of Pittsburgh’s skyline are notorious for congestion and any local will agree that orange is just as popular as black and gold thanks to regular construction cones that pop up along the parkways. Before you head to the next Steelers home game, check out these tips for tailgate timing, including when to arrive at Heinz Field, when to head into the stadium for the game and how to plan your exit without getting stuck in the infamous Pittsburgh traffic.
When To Arrive At Heinz Field
If you’re planning to tailgate at a Steelers game, there’s plenty of time to do so at all of Heinz Field’s parking locations, which open five hours before the start of the game. No vehicles are permitted to park in front of any parking lot entrances prior to the lot opening, so time your trip wisely.
When To Head Into The Game
Heinz Field opens its stadium gates two hours prior to kick-off for Steelers games. Plan to enter through the gate listed on your game ticket, which will help you find your seat quickly. If you find that you ended up tailgating a little too long and won’t be entering until after halftime, you must use Gate B.
Security checks are in place at Heinz Field, so fans are asked to arrive with sufficient time to get through the inspection. Doing so will eliminate long lines and get you into the game sooner.
How To Plan Your Exit Without Getting Stuck In Traffic
If you’ve parked in any of the 10 Green Lots, the Rivers Casino parking garage or any of the four Gold Lots and you plan to head home on North Route 65, you can easily escape the game-day traffic by taking Allegheny Avenue to North Avenue. If you’re homeward bound via East I-376, take Allegheny Avenue to Western Avenue and cross over the West End Bridge in the right lane. The bridge’s left lanes will put you onto West I-376, South Route 51 and Route 19. If you prefer, you can always use the Fort Duquesne Bridge via Allegheny Avenue’s right lane.
Tailgaters exiting one of the eight Red Lots should take Merchant Street to Arch Street to North Avenue. This route will lead you to North I-279 and out of the downtown area.
Blue Lot tailgaters and those who parked in the Allegheny Center Parking have the most options for exiting their tailgating festivities. The first option is to leave via Federal Street, which will connect you to North Avenue and then North I-279. Another option is to take East Ohio Street or General Robinson Street to North Route 28. This route is best for those parking in Blue Lot 7J, 7H or Garage 10.
Regardless of which route you take, however, you will run the risk of construction detours and backups. Check with PennDOT’s travel information for any traffic restrictions, road closures and construction detours prior to heading to the game and plan your route accordingly. A few minutes of preparation ahead of time will save you the hassle of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic following the game.
Consider leaving the game before the end of the forth quarter, ideally towards the end of the third quarter. While this isn’t an option for many die-hard Steelers fans who come to cheer on the black and gold until the end and for those tailgaters who also like to hang around after the final point for some post-game partying, leaving Heinz Field even 20 minutes early will give you a significant time advantage when leaving downtown Pittsburgh.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh and is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.