Local News

Prepare for Parking Problems at Air Expo

Posted May 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— As predicted, traffic near Raleigh-Durham International Airport is backed up and slow-going this Sunday. The attraction? TheRDU Air Expo. If you are attending the event -- or if you are trying to catch a flight -- you will probably need to get on the road earlier than you would expect.

Those attending the Air Expo should also consider carpooling if it's at all possible.

The enormous popularity of Air Expo makes a traffic jam a given. But this year, Mother Nature was rather mean to the event's organizers. She provided the region with especially heavy rain earlier in the week, and it converted fields intended for extra parking into sodden acreage.

So officials were dismayed to watch the 45-acre field that was supposed to hold about half of the expected cars be transformed by the bad weather into a 45-acre pond. And Saturday morning's fierce downpour was just the coup de grace on a difficult situation.

Airport Director John Brantley says about 5,500 parking spaces were lost, and he tried to let the public know in advance what they are dealing with today.

Brantley says only a miracle would have made conditions improve for today.

Contributing to the problem is the fact that the Expo is taking place on Sunday afternoon, which is the busiest time of the week for the airport. That means no extra airport parking can be made available.

Ironically, the weather is beautifully sunny and that usually encourages more people to turn out for events such as air shows.

Those who were lucky enough to find a parking place will find plenty to enjoy. Aircraft displays and aerial performances are on the bill.

The event's organizers just ask that animals, skateboards, bicycles, rollerblades, balloons, coolers and glass containers be left at home.

Air Expo ends at 6 p.m.