PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Traffic congestion was expected in the Palo Alto area later Thursday when fans head to Stanford Stadium for the sold-out Stanford-Oregon football game, and police were asking drivers to avoid the area.

“It’s going to be very, very tough,” Palo Alto police Officer Marianna Villaescusa said.

KCBS Traffic: Current Conditions

The kickoff for the nationally televised game is set for 6 p.m., right when commuters are heading home from work, and police are asking motorists to avoid the El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road corridors, Villaescusa said.

“Coming to the game is going to be the issue because it’s going to be rush hour traffic,” Villaescusa said. “The Embarcadero (to campus) is two lanes in and two lanes out.”

The Police Department will be sending its normal deployment of officers to direct traffic during and after the game, Villaescusa said.

“We’re going to do the regular traffic plan we do for all Stanford games,” she said.

All 50,000 tickets to the Cardinal-Ducks game have been sold, and some fans were already on campus this morning for tailgate parties as Stanford students went to class, Stanford University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said.

“We’ve got Oregon fans here early and we expect people to arrive throughout the day,” Lapin said. “So, we hope not to see a big bubble of traffic.”

The university has opened satellite lots for parking, and has set up shuttle buses to help fans avoid long walks to the stadium, Lapin said.

Former Stanford quarterback John Elway will be on hand at the game for a ceremony to retire his No. 7 jersey, which he wore while playing for Stanford in the early 1980s, Lapin said.

The California Highway Patrol has assigned about a half-dozen officers to accompany the Oregon Ducks team from their hotel to the game and to stay with Stanford players before, during and after the game, CHP spokesman Moises Escoto said.

The CHP does not expect significant traffic problems on nearby U.S. Highway 101 and Interstate Highway 280, Escoto said.

“It’s going to be a regular traffic day for us,” Escoto said.

However, for Palo Alto, “it might be gridlock for a while,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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