UNC-Chapel Hill’s basketball team has had its share of championship seasons, so town officials have a well-honed plan for dealing with exuberant crowds this weekend.
More than 300 law enforcement officers will work Franklin Street on Saturday night when the Tar Heels play Syracuse in the Final Four.
Parking will be limited downtown and prohibited in nearby neighborhoods, which police will barricade for everyone but residents and their guests starting in the afternoon. Vehicles parked on the closed streets will be towed beginning at 7 p.m., with a minimum recovery cost of $105 plus the cost of the ticket.
Weapons, alcohol, glass bottles, paint, fireworks and explosives, combustible or flammable substances, animals, and coolers are prohibited downtown. Celebratory bonfires and people climbing light poles and trees have caused burns and other injuries in the past and are prohibited at all times downtown.
In 2009 when the Tar Heels defeated Michigan State 89-72 for their fifth NCAA championship, police estimated 30,000 jubilant fans partied in the street.
If UNC wins a return to the title game, the decision to close downtown streets Saturday will be based on crowd size and behavior. If streets are closed, no vehicles will be allowed inside the closed area.
Closings may include:
▪ Franklin Street – from Raleigh Street to Mallette Street
▪ Columbia Street – from Cameron Avenue to Rosemary Street
▪ Raleigh Street – from Cameron Avenue to East Franklin Street
▪ Henderson Street – from East Rosemary Street to East Franklin Street
A traffic-diversion plan will be in effect and visitors to downtown should expect delays.
▪ Southbound traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd will be merged into one lane approaching West Rosemary Street
▪ Eastbound traffic on West Franklin Street will be merged into one lane approaching Mallette Street
▪ Westbound traffic on East Franklin Street will be merged into one lane approaching Hillsborough Street
▪ Northbound traffic on South Columbia Street will be required to turn left or right at Cameron Avenue