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Pinnacle Bank Arena parking

A police officer directs traffic near Pinnacle Bank Arena when it opened in 2013. Now traffic on Q and R streets will be blocked off.

Sunday marked a major change in traffic flow for those going to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Lincoln Police vehicles blocked both R and Q streets prior to Sunday’s Carrie Underwood concert, sending Ninth Street traffic further south, primarily to N Street.

That routing more efficiently directed vehicles to Haymarket parking garages -- where parking would be available -- while eliminating congestion at four-way stops on Seventh and Eighth streets at Q and R.

R street has been blocked in front of the arena since the building opened in 2013. What that often meant is that people unfamiliar with the traffic pattern attempted to turn onto R Street, only to have to meander through the Haymarket to find parking.

Q Street likewise became congested before concerts and sporting events, with the line of cars sometimes backing up to 10th Street.

Motorists, especially those coming from outside Lincoln, most often turned off I-180 into the Haymarket because they were directed that way by smartphone maps and other GPS devices, said a Lincoln Police officer directing traffic at Ninth and R before Sunday's show.

The arena attempted to get those services to change those directions but was unable to do so, said arena manager Tom Lorenz.

Since the West Haymarket was developed, traffic was intended to reach the parking garages servicing the arena from N Street on the south and Salt Creek Roadway on the north, both of which feed into Arena Drive.

And many regular concert-goers have learned that by parking east of Ninth Street, you can avoid a lot of the traffic after the show.

The new routing also made getting to the arena much more pedestrian friendly and allowed a steady flow of people toward the doors.

The new traffic flow is expected to remain in place for future Pinnacle Bank Arena events.

Photos: Carrie Underwood at the arena

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.

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Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment reporter and columnist.

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