January 19, 2018 05:30 PM
Minnesota is just 15 days away from the Super Bowl LII kick-off, and preparations are in full swing for Minnesota's Moment.
The festivities kick-off one week from Friday. In preparation, the perimeter is already going into place. This weekend marks motorists and pedestrians last opportunity to get around downtown Minneapolis easily.
Starting Monday, the perimeter surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium will be guarded by Minneapolis police and the Minnesota National Guard.
Vehicles coming and going will be x-rayed by border patrol. Anyone who tries to jump the fence, cameras and motion detectors are in place to catch them.
"This is probably the largest public safety deployment over an extended period of time in our state's history," said Minneapolis Police
Commander Scott Gerlicher said, who oversees all things related to Super Bowl LII security.
The perimeter that is forming is expected to be locked in place in one week.
"It will be tough to get a cold breath through security," Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michael Vekich said.
"It's a fortress and will be a fortress around the stadium," added Gerlicher.
Friday's MSFA meeting was the last safety and security briefing before the big game.
"All safety and security and public safety for the Super Bowl rests with local authorities," Gerlicher said.
More than 3,000 public safety personnel will pitch in throughout the ten days leading up to the game, primarily made up of 60 state-wide agencies coming into town to help.
"This is a very different atmosphere," Gerlicher said. "Different environment being that it's a downtown urban environment."
At 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, two days before kick-off, the light rail will no longer stop at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The light rail will shuttle only ticket holders directly from the Mall of America to the stadium the day of the game. Those ticket holders will go through security at the mall for smoother access.
Police will be on the train and along the route for safety.
Heated tents in the northern parking lots near the stadium are up and ready to accommodate those working on the half-time show.
As soon as the two teams facing off in the game are decided, their logos will litter the city.
"We're ready to go," Gerlicher said. "We could have the Super Bowl tomorrow."
There's just one tiny detail left: Sunday's game.
"I dare not even say it," Gerlicher said. "But we've been considering the next week and subsequent victory parade, so let's hope we get to that point in time."
According to Minneapolis police, the Super Bowl Host Committee gave the city the money to pay for off-duty patrols in the days leading up to the Super Bowl and on Super Bowl Sunday.
Updated: January 19, 2018 05:30 PM
Created: January 19, 2018 04:05 PM
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