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Are you ready for some traffic? Vikes, Gophers, Fair, Twins all at once

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Were you thinking of heading out of town early for Labor Day weekend by leaving on Thursday evening?

Well if the town you're leaving is near Minneapolis, better think again about the timing and route of your travels.

More than 100,000 sports fans will be in the Mill City at the same time Thursday night. And they'll be rubbing elbows – and bumpers – with State Fair visitors and all the regular ol' commuters, too.

Four simultaneous sports events

Metro Transit has been encouraging people to plan ahead and consider taking a bus or train if they're going to see the Vikings, the Twins, or the U of M football team in Minneapolis.

The Vikings are set to play their final pre-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium at 7 p.m. First pitch of the Twins-White Sox game is scheduled a few minutes later at Target Field. And at 8 p.m. the Gophers will kickoff their 2016 season by hosting Oregon State at TCF Bank Stadium.

Over in St. Paul, the Saints also have a home game at CHS Field.

Simultaneous home games involving the Gophers, Twins, and Saints happened at about this same time last year and led to record ridership on the Twin Cities' light rail system, as the total cracked 100,000 for the first time.

Metro Transit's spokesman tells the Star Tribune they're expecting six-figure ridership again Thursday and will be using every bus and train car they have a driver for.

A spokesman for Minneapolis tells the newspaper it might be the busiest traffic day of the year in the city and MnDot calls it a day when some soothing music might be in order for evening commuters.

Vikings the biggest draw

The State Fair sometimes gets 100,000 visitors but of course that crowd is spread out over the whole day.

So in Thursday night's lineup it's the Vikings who will be the heavy hitters, with a full house of more than 66,000 expected at their new downtown stadium.

As usual during Vikings games, some streets near U.S. Bank Stadium will be closed.

The team has a routing map that shows drivers in real time the best way to approach the stadium from any direction. There's also information about parking, tailgating, and public transit.

Metro Transit's tips for getting to U.S. Bank Stadium include using an All-Day Pass, which has replaced the old Event Pass. The transit agency says arriving early and staying late help travelers beat crowds.

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