Lawrence residents attending the Kansas University-Kansas State University game should leave no later than 9:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities say.
Kansas Highway Patrol Sgt. David Bogina made a joke when he recommended when people should leave for Saturday's Kansas University-Kansas State University football game: "Friday," he said.
Anyone leaving Saturday from the Lawrence area for the game -- which kicks off at 12:10 p.m. -- should leave no later than 9:30 a.m.
"I've only got 17 hours of work planned for Saturday," quipped Lt. Bob Leahew, commander of Troop C of the KHP and coordinator of traffic outside Manhattan for the game.
"We're going to have to have extra folks down there," he said. "People will be coming from all over the place."
Capt. Allen Raynor of the Riley County Police Department said, "We can't stress enough that traffic here is always bad for this game, and its going to be the most we've ever had this year."
Raynor predicted that traffic jams would begin around 10 a.m.
"Anyone who is not in Manhattan by 10 o'clock is going to be in trouble."
All major federal and state highways leading to Manhattan are expected to be full near the city before and after the game, he said. Construction on U.S. Highway 177 will aggravate traffic problems, Raynor said.
Interstate 70, Leahew said, should be able to handle the traffic volume, but congestion is expected along Manhattan exit ramps from the highway.
KHP officers will be directing traffic from the exit ramps to the city at U.S. Highway 177 and Kansas Highway 18, Leahew said.
"But that's not the only responsibility my officers have, and they may not be there all the time," he said.
In all, at least 120 officers from the KHP, Riley County Police Department and KU and KSU police departments will be handling traffic and post-game activities in Aggieville, a concentrated area of bars where fans traditionally gather after KSU games.
"I'd be leaving probably ... at least 2 1/2 hours before the game," said KU police Sgt. Rose Rozmiarek. "If they've never been there before, I'd say to leave even earlier.
"We've gotten caught in traffic jams ourselves, going up there," said Rozmiarek, who has worked security at the game twice before.
Leahew said fans should plan to spend an hour to 90 minutes after the game in heavy traffic before normal traffic resumes.
"Come early," he said, "and don't be in a hurry to leave."