Saturday's Events Near State Fairgrounds Could Create Major Traffic Hassles
Posted October 17, 2002 4:38 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Highway Patrol said about 200,000 people will cram themselves into the Fairgrounds area for the State Fair, an N.C. State football game and a Carolina Hurricanes game on Saturday, but there are ways to ease the impending traffic gridlock.
Football and hockey fans are asked to use Interstate 40 to Wade Avenue and Edwards Mill Road. Fair fans should use Interstate 40 to Highway 54 to the state fairgrounds or the Beltline to Hillsborough Street. The N.C. State game starts at noon while the Hurricanes game starts at 7 p.m. The state Highway Patrol hopes the parking lots will be clear before the transition from football to hockey.
"Of course in an ideal situation, it would be great to have everyone away from the RBC Center by 4 p.m. In reality, is that going to happen? Probably not. We're going to work and do the best we can do with what we've got," said Lt. Mark Johnson, of the state Highway Patrol.
Larry Perkins, assistant general manager of the RBC Center, spent 24 years at the Meadowlands. He said he believes the area can handle all three events.
"Of course, we had three events going on simultaneously with the race track with 40,000 [seats], 80,000-seat Giants Stadium and a 24,000-seat Continental Airlines Arena, and we did that routinely," he said. "I don't see that this is being anything differently than that."
Officials said that if there are three or more people in a car, the arena parking staff will allow vehicles with three or more people in the car to use the high-occupancy vehicle-dedicated entrance located off Wade Avenue between Edwards Mill and Blue Ridge Road.
The State Fair, N.C. State and the Hurricanes are offering a park-and-ride shuttle bus service from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. A bus will pick up passengers at N.C. State's McKimmon Center. Another bus runs from the Cigna Building parking lot off Corporate Center Drive.