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Rush Hour Traffic Expected to be Heavy as Thousands Leave Raleigh Arena Event

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RALEIGH — If you were anywhere near the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena Tuesday morning, you probably found yourself stuck in a sea of other cars.

Traffic was backed up for miles as thousands of people headed to the Success 2000 motivational seminar at the arena. Cars were gridlocked at just about every entrance and exit to the facility.

There were tie-ups on Wade Avenue, Blue Ridge Road, Trinity Road and the Edwards Mill Extension.

The commute into Raleigh took two to three times longer than normal for many motorists.

Big names like Colin Powell, Christopher Reeve and Mia Hamm attracted close to 13,000 people to the event which started at 8 a.m. An hour later, many people were still arriving.

"This is a unique situation," says arena manager Dave Olsen. " It's morning, it's rush hour and you're bringing a lot of volume of traffic to an already overcrowded area and it tied everything up. I don't think there's anything we could have done better."

Arena officials say more people attended Saturday's WWF wrestling event at the arena, and the crowd attending Sunday's Hurricanes game was about the same. They say few traffic problems were experienced over the weekend.

Arena officials say in the case of today's event, many people did not come in groups, as is the case with hockey games and concerts.

More traffic tie-ups are expected as people leave the seminar, which is scheduled to end at 6 p.m.