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Football Fans Prepare Strategy For Saturday Gridlock

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RALEIGH — TheHighway Patrolsays the toughest chore this Labor Day weekend may not be leaving town, but getting around town. The Triangle's college football teams start their seasons Saturday, and they all start at home.

An estimated 130,000 fans will hit the roads Saturday asN.C. State,UNCandDukeall kick off the season.

"Tomorrow in the Raleigh area, we're going to have three different ball games at three different venues," says Capt. R.L. Hayes of the Highway Patrol. He is thankful that the Triangle's daily commuter traffic will not be a factor this weekend.

Carolina and Duke both kick off at 6 p.m., and N.C. State starts at 7 p.m. After the games, eastbound traffic leaving Chapel Hill and Durham should reach the Raleigh area around the time the Wolfpack game lets out.

East Carolina Universityplays Duke, so much of that traffic will head through Raleigh on the way Down East after the game. That could make for very slow-going for football fans on Interstate 40 East, one mile before Wade Avenue.

The Highway Patrol advises those drivers not to take Wade Avenue into Raleigh, suggesting motorists continue on I-40 East until they get to U.S. 1, then travel north into Raleigh.

To improve the trip to your game, the schools have one suggestion: Get there early. When you leave, be patient, the Highway Patrol says. And no matter who wins, try to stay calm.

Sunday will not be easy on Raleigh roads, either. Carter-Finley Stadium hosts theAggie-Eagle Classic, and a short distance away at Meredith College,Pops in the Parkkicks off in the evening.


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