Local News

Traffic Expected to be Heavy During State Fair, Even With New, Wider Roads

Posted October 11, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— In one week, tens of thousands of cars will stream into West Raleigh for the opening of the State Fair. Road work in the area may lead some to think getting to the fair will be easier. But WRAL'sTom Lawrence found out Friday that's not necessarily the case.

Traffic and full parking lots are the part of the fair no one likes. And with the State-Carolina game played next door the second day of the fair, traffic will be crowded most of the time.

Paving crews worked Friday night to finish re-surfacing Duraleigh Road for a smoother ride. Duraleigh has been widened to five lanes between Ebenezer Church and Blue Ridge Road giving more traffic a green light.

"The congestion will be alleviated as compared to years past," said Glenn Whittington, Department of Transportation.

Work on Wade Avenue west of the fairgrounds will not be completed. However, DOT contracts were planned with the fair in mind so work won't interfere.

The changes along Wade Avenue, including a new bridge that isn't open, won't do much to help fair traffic. The highway patrol said the best thing a driver can bring to the fair is patience.

Next year Wade Avenue traffic will enter fair parking using the new Edwards Mill interchange and that will help traffic problems. This year, plan ahead and leave early.

More than 80 state troopers will direct traffic at the fair; another 20 will be on duty during the State-Carolina game.

The first State Fair was held in 1853. Only 5000 people attended, but organizers considered it a great turnout. Last year, more than 750,000 people attended. The 1997 fair starts Friday, Oct. 17 and runs through Oct. 26. The theme for this year is "Nothing Could Be Finer." The fair features livestock shows, arts and crafts, cooking contests and a huge midway full of fun.

WRAL will be at the State Fair, broadcasting live starting Friday. The WRAL booth will be next to Dorton Arena.