Chapel Hill to fans: Leave early, use transit

Posted October 22, 2009

— Town and university officials hope to avoid traffic headaches when the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill takes on Florida State University in the Tar Heel's first Thursday-night home football game.

Approximately 60,000 fans are expected to pour into Chapel Hill for the game, which kicks off at 8 p.m.

They will be contending on Interstate 40 with typical rush-hour traffic and visitors headed to Canned Food Night at the North Carolina State Fair.

The traffic problems could go straight into the heart of Chapel Hill. Kenan Memorial Stadium is nestled in the center of campus and backs up against UNC Hospitals.

traffic delays possible for unc game Traffic expected to be heavy in Chapel Hill

Get information about traffic and parking on game day in Chapel Hill.

"We're trying to impress upon people to make sure they allow enough time to get where they're going. Expect delays coming into town as well," Chapel Hill Police Lt. Kevin Gunter said.

University officials recommend that game traffic avoid I-40. Those without parking permits should carpool or use Chapel Hill Transit, Triangle Transit or the game-day-only Tar Heel Express and park-and-ride shuttles.

Motorists traveling from Raleigh can use U.S. Highway 64 to U.S. Highway 15/501. Motorists from Durham can take U.S. 15/501, exit onto Columbia Street, then turn onto Manning Drive.

Gunter said extra patrols are on duty to help keep the delays at a minimum before and after the game.

Three times as many university and hospital employees will be working Thursday than they usually do on Saturday games, so less than half of the parking spaces normally used for game parking will be available.

UNC Hospitals is closing its clinics early, and all UNC employees will be dismissed two hours early, at 3 p.m. Towing from some parking lots will begin as early as 3:30 p.m. to open them for game traffic.

State law requires UNC employees to make up the hours. University officials said employees can add the hours onto another work day or use vacation or furlough time.

Throughout the evening, hospital staff, patients and visitors have priority for parking. Campus lots opened for game traffic at 5:30 p.m. Municipal parking lots and decks will be open as usual. Most public parking is on the South Columbia Street end of Manning Drive.

Access to some streets and residential areas in Chapel Hill will also be restricted.

The game was scheduled during UNC's fall break to reduce traffic congestion and to avoid interfering with classes.

ESPN, which is broadcasting the game, agreed to a later kick-off time than most other Thursday night games to help with traffic.

For up-to-date parking information, call the event hotline at 919-962-3951, listen to 1610 AM, or check UNC's Public Safety Breaking News Bulletin.


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  • turtledove Oct 22, 2009

    It's nice to know what's important to UNC Hospital and clinics. A football game. Meanwhile staff has to make up their time and patients that could have been scheduled during that time will have to wait another day, week, or even a month because UNC football is more important! That's just great but hey its football right what could be more important that that?

  • bonnnie Oct 22, 2009

    I agree with impatientgirl! Its ridiculous!!!!

  • liskm Oct 22, 2009

    Okay, trying to get this straight. Vehicle traffic is NOT welcomed if you are trying to get to work at UNC. If traffic needs to get to a ball game, then all employees need to clear the area and lose work said SAD economic times and the workers have to pay back the time...that's a head banger if I ever saw one!

  • rambler Oct 22, 2009

    I was confused when I first read the headline. I didn't think you ever had to tell Carolina football fans to "Leave early." There usually out of Kenan by the end of the 3rd.

  • ScoDan Oct 22, 2009

    So honestly all of this talk about traffic, crowds etc etc etc...The last time I checked, Kenan Stadium at Caro-wina held the same amoount of people it did at the last home game? Correct...why isnt anyone worried about the traffic then? Just because they are actually on a Thursday night game for the first time...or did they add 10,000 seats or something to not be able to plan the crush of people?!?!

  • lkanzig Oct 22, 2009


  • gregg45 Oct 22, 2009

    i really hope . all of you remember this nite.. 50 years from now,,may be all the retards playin,, will be your senators,,i won a game,, in like 19 o 2009 ,, dang people,, its a game.. not one of u here are gonna make any $$$$$$$$$$, unless,,

  • gregg45 Oct 22, 2009

    wow,, all over a pigskin , most of the players would eat,, and making up the hours over a silly bass game.. i think not.. who cares , its idiots with brain damage.. hope they all lose.. and to all driving,, hope you all sit in gridlock for at least 4 hours

  • ArmyGF829 Oct 22, 2009

    "all you state "fans" and pirate "fans' and any other "fan" of "any other team would be so excited to get the national attention this game is getting - being the first Thursday night game in school history is a big deal --- you know if it were your school you'd be excited!"

    hmm..I believe Wolfpack gets a national Thursday night game almost every year and we don't have to shut places down early to have the game on a Thursday night!

    I remember one year, there was a N.C. State football game, the fair, and a Hurricane's game all on the same day. Try that traffic.

  • asjdiw Oct 22, 2009

    Football game causes increase in traffic.
    Wow. I smell Pulitzer.