NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's a scheduling nightmare that pits Predators fans against TDOT crews: a major road project that's set to start just in time for the team's biggest game this year.
TDOT made the announcement last week, that repairs are desperately needed to the interstate bridges that cross over Woodland and Main Streets. The bridges are 51 years old.
To make those repairs, crews will shut down the interstate in both directions, for 13 weekends starting on Friday, April 20, at 9 p.m.
What no one could have predicted, was that first closure would coincide with the Predators fifth game against the Red Wings. A sell-out crowd is expected at Bridgestone Arena, which means thousands of people will be making their way downtown.
"Obviously we are just as excited for the Predators as any other fans," said TDOT Spokesperson Deanna Lambert. "Unfortunately, they didn't know up until the last minute when they were going to be in the play-offs."
Lambert said fans headed to the game will not be affected. It's their drive home that will involve alternate routes.
"Once you come out at 9 o'clock, the interstate will be shut down," she said. "So our advice to you is to take Interstate 40 around the city and just be aware of the construction that's going on."
Drivers and predators fans NewsChannel 5 spoke with say they are prepared for a few headaches.
"Any major highway shutting down is not good," said one driver. "It's pretty bad timing."
TDOT is working closely with the staff at Bridgestone Arena, and said hundreds of electronic signs will be posted throughout the area, directing drivers toward alternate routes.
Further delaying the project, Lambert said, is not an option at this point.
'This construction project has been in the works for years, and these dates have been in the plans for weeks and months now," she said. "So we certainly empathize with the Preds fans and we hope they have a wonderful time, but just know you have to take I-40 to get out of the downtown area."
During the project's first weekend interstate closure, workers will be removing deteriorated concrete from the bridge decks and setting barrier rail.
The repairs are part of an $8.7 million project to rehabilitate bridges.
TDOT said the best thing you can do is plan ahead of time exactly how you'll get home from the game.