Presidential debate, Copa América will impact Thursday's traffic in Atlanta

Atlanta will take center stage again as it hosts a series of high-profile events at the same time.

On Thursday, the city will be the backdrop for the presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. That same day, Atlanta will welcome international guests for the U.S. Soccer Match against Panama at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

This city is no stranger to global attention, having hosted the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. This week, however, it will buzz with the presence of a president, a former president, and an expected 70,000 soccer fans.

Banners are placed outside of the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology ahead of the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia on June 24, 2024. Two years after the US Supreme Court stripped constitutional protections for abortion, the explosive i

Atlanta's motorists will certainly feel the extra people on the road. Both candidates are bringing motorcades to travel throughout the city, including those of first lady Dr. Jill Biden, as confirmed by the Georgia State Patrol.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12: Miles Robinson #12 of USA heads a ball during a CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Final game between Panama and USMNT at Snapdragon Stadium on July 12, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Mike Janosz/USSF/Getty Images for USSF).

The U.S. Men's Soccer Team's face-off with Panama is slated to start at 6 p.m. Doors will open earlier, at 4 p.m., potentially mitigating some of the traffic congestion. The debate begins at 9 p.m. with street closures between 10th Street and State Street, extending to 14th Street. These closures will begin late Wednesday and last until 10 p.m. on Thursday.

"We are going to have international tourists in our country coming to the city of Atlanta," said Lt. Maurice Raines from the Office of Highway Safety. "We are honored to partner with our sheriff's department and our police department to keep everybody safe during this time."

Deputy Chief Prenzinna Spann of the Atlanta Police Department emphasized the extensive preparations in collaboration with various law enforcement partners to ensure the city's safety during these events.

"We do need the citizens to help us," said Lt. Raines. "They need to have a Plan B, as well as a Plan A, when they travel, you know? And know that they're going to expect congestion, but they are going to have to put up a little patience."

For those who must navigate downtown or midtown during this period, law enforcement offers the following guidance: Take MARTA.