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Going to Garth Brooks? Here’s what to know about traffic and the concert

Garth Brooks performs at the 2017 CMA Music Festival at Nissan Stadium on June 8, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)

By Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7

If you’re one of the tens of thousands of fans going to one of the Garth Brooks concerts this week, this is your guide for how to plan ahead.

Is driving a good idea?
That’d be best if you can get dropped off nearby, or if you have pre-arranged parking. Even then, plan for an alternative route because of road closures.

If you’re traveling South on I-5: Take Exit 135- Follow the off-ramp to Portland Ave. Follow E. 27th Street across Portland Ave. E. 27th becomes Wiley Ave. Follow directional signs to parking lots.

Traveling North on I-5: Exit 134- Follow the off-ramp to Portland Ave. Turn left on Portland Ave. Turn left on E. 27th Street (first light). E. 27th becomes Wiley Ave. Follow directional signs to parking lots.

NB I-5 Exit 133 City Center / I-705 will be closed. Detour via NB Exit 132.

The State Department of Transportation has suspended all work for the weekend. Roads around the Tacoma Dome will get traffic from the parking lot in the hours between concerts.

How many people are expected in Tacoma?
Tacoma police are planning for 101,000 fans between Friday and Sunday.

Will parking be available at the Tacoma Dome?
“$30 parking in Tacoma Dome lots is extremely limited and will fill quickly,” according to an email from Dome staff. “Attendees choosing to park in Tacoma Dome lots are encouraged to carpool and should plan to arrive early. Parking lots E and K are reserved for guests with disabilities and are van accessible. These lots are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. All Tacoma Dome lots are wheelchair accessible.”

What times do the Sounder Trains run?
On Friday, Nov. 3, concert-goers can hop aboard any regularly scheduled afternoon southbound Sounder train to the Tacoma Dome Station. A return-trip Sounder train will depart Tacoma Dome Station 30 minutes after the house lights go up at the end of the concert, stopping in Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle. Sounder service to Snohomish County will end at King Street Station in Seattle after the 7:30 performance. Special ST Express buses will meet the late trains to continue on to Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett, see below.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, fans can take the Sounder from Everett at 9:50 a.m., with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds, and transfer to a south line trains at King Street Station that departs at 11 a.m. to attend the 2 p.m. performance. A southbound train will also depart King Street Station at 4:30 p.m. to serve the 7:30 p.m. show. Return trips depart the Tacoma Dome Station 30 minutes after the house lights go up. People returning from the 2 p.m. concert can transfer to an Everett-bound train at King Street station. There will not be any north line service after the 7:30 p.m. performance.

Sounder will not operate special service for the concerts on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Are there bag restrictions or other security restrictions at the concert?
Security measures are in place at the Tacoma Dome, including metal detectors and bag restrictions. Weapons (including pocket knives) are prohibited and all bags are subject to search. Bag size may not exceed 13”x15” and backpacks are not permitted. Fans are advised to bring only what is necessary to expedite entry.

What time are the shows?
7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Double check your ticket/order confirmation to ensure correct date and show time. The doors open at 12:30 p.m. for the 2 p.m. show.

Are tickets still available?
Yes, but not many. The tickets are $74.98 each. Seats are sold as the best available. That total cost includes a base charge of $61.65 plus $3.08 tax, plus a $4.00 facility fee, plus a $6.25 service charge. Each person can buy eight tickets.

What website?
www.Ticketmaster.com/GarthBrooks

What Tacoma Dome entrances will be open?
Guests can enter the building through using Upper A, Upper C, Upper D, and Upper E, according to Tacoma Dome staff. Person with disabilities may use Upper C, Upper E, and Lower A.

Is there an opening act?
No.

Is Tacoma Link offering special service?
Yes. Trains will operate until midnight all three days of the tour. In addition, Tacoma Link trains will run more often on Sunday, Nov. 5 – starting at noon, trains will run every 12 minutes instead of the normal Sunday schedule of every 24 minutes.

What will ST Express service be like?
From about three hours before each concert time to about 90 minutes before concert time, extra ST Express Route 594 trips will be operated so that service is every 15 minutes from Lakewood Station to Tacoma Dome Station. The extra trips will not continue to Seattle. Return trips to Lakewood after the concert will be based on demand. Go to soundtransit.org/schedule for more about regularly scheduled Sound Transit services.

Regular fares apply for all Sound Transit services. Rail riders can avoid the post-concert ticket vending machine lines by purchasing a Day Pass at their originating station. One-way tickets and Day Passes can also be purchased with the Transit GO Ticket app.

Another way to skip lines at ticket vending machines is by getting an ORCA card. Cards only cost $5 for adults, plus whatever amount a rider chooses to load in the card’s E-purse or the cost of a pass that is good for unlimited transit trips. ORCA works on trains, buses and ferries throughout the region. More information is available at orcacard.com.

Will Uber and Lyft be operating?
Yes, but there may be surge pricing. All Uber and Lyft passengers will be dropped off and picked up in front of the Tacoma Dome. But they will have to wait to pick up passengers after the parking lot is empty.

Are signs permitted?
Handheld signs will be permitted. Signs should be small enough to fit under your seat. The Tacoma Dome reserves the right to refuse or remove any signs at their discretion.

Are cameras allowed?
Non-professional cameras (no detachable lens) are allowed. No video cameras, audio recording devices, GoPros, iPads, selfie sticks, or tripods.

Will alcohol be sold inside the Tacoma Dome?
Yes. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at various concession stand locations throughout the arena, including: Stan’s Place, Ninkasi Brewing, and the Modelo Taco Truck stand.

Are there other options for beer and cocktails?
Cocktails, beer and wine will be available in the Tacoma Dome’s Upper B lounge. The heated tent is located just outside of the Upper B doors on the concourse. The Garage (the lounge at the Tacoma Dome) has themed signature cocktails, local craft and domestic beers on tap and wine. The Garage is located on the SW arena floor and is open to guests 21 and older who have floor seats. There also is a pre-show lounge in the Exhibition Hall beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

When was the last time Garth Brooks came to the Northwest?
He played six shows at KeyArena  from July 15 through July 20, 1998. He last played the Tacoma Dome on August 3, 1993. That was a nine-song set that included “The River,” “Friends in Low Places,” “The Dance,” and an encore cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.”

Fun fact about Garth Brooks and the Northwest? 
The 10th track on his second studio album, “No Fences,” was “Mr. Blue.” That song was made famous by The Fleetwoods, an Olympia-based group that recorded the song in 1959 with legendary engineer Kearney Barton. The Fleetwoods’ version was the second song by a Seattle-area artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. (The first was The Fleetwoods’ song “Come Softly To Me.”)

Information from Sound Transit and the Tacoma Dome staff is included in this report. KIRO 7 reproter Deobrah Horne contributed to this report.

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