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Construction, weather make for messy Texas Rangers home opener

ARLINGTON -- What Texas Rangers ballgame traffic?

9:30 a..m. -- There was no traffic on Texas 360 and Interstate 30. You could drive 65 mph per hour without tapping the brakes.

On Texas 360 north and south, electronic signs alert motorists that traffic could pick up significantly. A sign on Texas 360 south alerts drivers that traffic could be slow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. A sign on Texas 360 north recommends taking the Randol Mill and Division street exits to get to the game, which starts at 1:05 p.m.

Even if you do get stuck in traffic later, check out the cranes hovering over the Dallas Cowboys stadium and a red crane in the median on Interstate 30 near Nolan Ryan Expressway..

9:40 a.m. -- Traffic was starting to pick up in the left turning lane on the Collins Street bridge over the I-30. People were turning left on Copeland toward the ballpark.

10 a.m. -- At 10 a.m. gates opened. Hundreds of fans started streaming into the ballpark to watch batting practice before the start of the game. Once inside fans were given Rangers schedule for 2008 and could buy programs. Fans ran down to the stands to the first base line hoping to get autographs from their favorite players.

The sun is out. the tarp is off the diamond and ground crews are doing last minute touch-ups to get the grounds ready.

But, earlier it was a different story.

At 8:40 a.m., the skies opened up with rain, lightening and thunder as workers threw a tarp over the infield and others got ready for the thousands of fans expected to attend opening-day festivities.

Crews worked feverishly to set up kiosks for Rangers ball caps and T-shirts and transporting hot dogs to the first-base concession stand.

A few early tailgaters braved the elements in the parking lot before 9 a.m.

Fans won't need to rush to get to their cars after the game. Construction on Interstate 30 related to the Dallas Cowboys stadium is expected to cause problems for the 50,000 fans arriving at and leaving the ballpark.

Both main routes between the ballpark and major highways are complicated by construction. Some drivers will confront a confusing Convention Center Drive entrance ramp to I-30. Motorists parked in the lots north of the ballpark will probably follow Copeland Road, a long, winding street that eventually puts traffic onto Texas 360 and I-30.

Rangers parking lot attendants will hand out fliers instructing motorists on the best way home from their parking lot, officials said.

The team would not release the traffic plans outlined on the fliers late Monday.

Strategically convenient

The extra game day parking lot at the Six Flags Over Texas theme park on Road to Six Flags appears to be the most convenient, according to an informal Star-Telegram test drive. The Rangers are providing a shuttle to the lot.

The lot is the closest to Texas 360 and its frontage road. The northbound frontage road can take drivers to east and west I-30.

Parking in that lot should also give you a head start on the bottleneck traffic north of the ballpark near I-30.