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National college football championship to jam up Phoenix traffic on Monday

PHOENIX — Drivers beware: Phoenix-area traffic is expected to be extremely heavy Monday before the national college football championship game in Glendale.

The game’s kickoff time of 6:30 p.m. places it at the tail end of rush hour, meaning fans will be on the roads to make it to the game while everyone else is pouring onto the freeways to get home.

Traffic is expected to be heaviest around University of Phoenix Stadium. The city of Glendale said the stretch of the Loop 101 between Northern Avenue and Camelback Road, along with city streets near the stadium, will be extremely congested.

Maryland Avenue will be closed between 93rd and 95th avenues, though pedestrian traffic and some shuttles will still be able to use it, and 95th Avenue in front of the stadium will be closed to everything but pedestrian traffic.

The city said the best bet for fans is to arrive in the area early. Parking lots at the Westgate Entertainment District open at 6 a.m., lots at the nearby Tanger Outlets open at 10 a.m. and the prepaid fan lots open at 10:30 a.m.

All parking lots have a fee. The ones at Westgate are cash-only and tailgating is only allowed in the prepaid lots.

For those who want to stay off the roads, Valley Metro said it is offering extended service for the game. Buses will leave two park-and-rides — one at 19th and Montebello avenues and one at 99th and Glendale avenues — every 30 minutes.

Riders will be dropped off and picked up near 93rd and Glendale avenues. The special service will run until 11:50 p.m.