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Traffic will test Gamecock fans on yearly opening trek to Williams-Brice

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Assembly Street's road construction is expected to add an extra layer of frustration to the downtown traffic situation when the Gamecocks host the North Carolina Tar Heels Thursday night.

Through 8 long months, Gamecock fans have ached for their yearly pilgrimage to Columbia's open-air cathedral. They'll cross state lines, swamps and sandhills to gather in the Capital City on Assembly Street.

But the yearly trip is always marked by traffic troubles. Yes, traffic; a test of will, patience and bladder control, that all fans must weather if they intend to reach the promised land.

"I would expect at some point, there'll be a lot of road rage," said Gary Kangas, manager of Green's, purveyor of game day spirits and sometimes prisoner to Assembly Street backups.

But Kangas says the first day of school was pretty rough out here. Now he's wondering what it'll be like in 2 days.

We asked Columbia Traffic Sgt. Derek Miller.

"Not only do you have game traffic as you would on a Saturday, but now you also have everybody that's in Columbia working, so it's a little bit more hectic," said Miller.

Throw construction into the mix, and it could be even worse. But Miller downplayed the roadwork. He says the lanes they need will be available to keep things moving.

Expect Assembly Street to become mostly one-way at around 2 o'clock. One northbound lane will be maintained.

One note: the DMV office on Shop Road will stop offering road tests at 1 p.m., but really, who wants to take a driving test in game day traffic

Besides, the real test will be on the patience of rabid fans, who can't wait for the wait to be over.

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