MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - Relief could be coming for a major headache in Madison.
We learned Tuesday the ramp on I-565 leading to Toyota Field will be opening very soon.
CEO of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, Ralph Nelson tells us this ramp is the very reason they choose the site for the stadium.
And with opening day at Toyota Field just over a month away, he says the opening of it is critical.
”This is not rocket science. Everything that happens on the Arsenal, that’s rocket science. This is a road. We’ve been building roads since the romans so let’s get this road going,” Mary Carleton said.
Mary Carleton who lives right off Zierdt Road says she’s not worried about the noise the games will bring, but the traffic.
“We’re excited Trash Pandas are here and they’re really using the property and getting their word out in the community. We just need help from a municipality for the infrastructure to be better to make it smooth for everyone to want to be here,” she explained.
Ralph Nelson says the opening of the exit ramp off I-565 is about to alleviate a lot of that pressure.
“I think we’re all going to breathe a little easier when we actually see cars on it, but we’ve been assured we’re almost there,” Nelson said.
Nelson says the ramp has been ready for months, but has remained closed.
In January, he urged the Mayor of Madison to write a letter to Governor Ivey.
“Within hours of receiving the letter from the Mayor, asked John Cooper, who’s the head of ALDOT to open the ramps. For me, the experience starts when you leave your house and it ends when you get back home. And everything that happens in the middle is important to whether or not people are going to come back and experience it again,” Nelson said.
When it’s time to play ball on May 11, will there be a sold out stadium?
Nelson says they are awaiting guidance from the Governor on how many seats they can sell.
“We’re pretty hopeful that she’s going to open it to 100 percent. Everyone in town wants to go to that opening game and 7,500 people will be lucky enough to be at that opening game,” Nelson said.
Nelson says he expects the ramp to open within a week or two, definitely before opening day.
In the meantime, there’s a lot going on at the stadium now, crews have already set up dozens of rides for the Big Ole’ Ballpark Fair starting this Thursday.
It’s happening April 8 through April 18. You can purchase tickets at the event or ahead of time online.