MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – It’s been nearly two years since K-State football fans packed Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but that’ll change when the Wildcats take on Southern Illinois at 6 o’clock Saturday night.
Capacity was limited to 25 percent last year and tailgating wasn’t allowed. Now it’s 100 percent capacity and tailgating is back, but many fans haven’t experienced what a gameday is like since 2019.
If you’re driving to the game, officials want you to be aware of some areas that could get congested due to high amounts of traffic.
On Highway 24 west of Wamego, the road goes down to two lanes so I-70 may be a better option for some.
Construction on Fort Riley Boulevard over Wildcat Creek could also be a problem area. Closer to the stadium cars will only be allowed to head west on part of Kimball Avenue after the game. That impacted spot is the construction zone that begins near Seth Child Road.
“The good news is the construction right around the stadium is complete, so right around the stadium we’re good, our traffic flow should be as it has in the past,” said Ken Hays, project coordinator for the City of Manhattan. “Unfortunately we’re not quite done with a project that’s too the west of that on Kimball Avenue and Seth Child and we that we will have a little bit of congestion at that intersection.”
The closure of eastbound traffic is only after the game when congestion is at its worst.
“People tend to space out when they come to the stadium so it helps out with that traffic control. Leaving obviously people tend to leave at the same time especially with this being a night game, people will be a little bit more interested in getting out of the parking lot, getting to wherever their next destination is,” Hays said.
Inside the stadium, fans will notice a big difference with the construction of the $50 million Shamrock Zone. It includes premium seating and food and drinks.
“The fan amenities are going to be phenomenal,” K-State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said.
“The new look and feel of the entire stadium has changed since a year or go or so, so really excited about a lot of stuff,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he expects a lot of energy from fans starting with tailgating hours before kickoff.
“Just the atmosphere and the comradery that comes with tailgating, people haven’t had a chance to really be together as their groups, and a lot of these people have been together for years in terms of being able to tailgate with friends and so I think that’ll be fun for people to be able to get back to that,” Taylor said. “There will be some fans that won’t come back. I think there are some concerns about crowds right now and we understand that.”
Taylor said attendance could be around 45,000 or higher on Saturday. The stadium’s capacity is listed at 50,000.