A MARTA train. Image via itsmarta.com
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Police Department is planning for the worst this weekend.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, the department will be hosting the region’s largest emergency preparedness exercise from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., according to program materials. The full-scale event, which will take place at MARTA’s Dome station near Mercedes Benz Stadium, will involve theatrical explosions, smoke and actors to create a realistic scenario for first responders practicing how to handle a terrorist attack during the upcoming Super Bowl.
“Our planning process for the Super Bowl started several years ago,” MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham said in a statement. “We have held numerous table-top exercises, but this full-scale exercise will showcase our capabilities and assist us in identifying any gaps.”
Program materials state the exercise will create minor disruptions to MARTA services. Beginning at 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, some service along the east and westbound Green and Blue rail service lines will be interrupted. A bus bridge to bypass Dome Station and the exercise will be made available, however. Riders utilizing the bus bridge will be directed to exit at Vine City Station or Five Points Station and get on the bus which will take them to the next available station.
“MARTA is one of the safest transit systems in the country because of training exercises such as this one,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience of our customers as we conduct this valuable exercise in preparation for the world’s largest sporting event.”
MARTA officials also warn that individuals living within a five-mile radius of the Dome Station may hear loud noises and see heavy police activity in the area on Saturday night, according to program materials. They are reaching out to local businesses and residents about the exercise to minimize confusion and reduce alarm.