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

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State Fair 1997
RALEIGH — In one week, tens of thousands of cars will stream into West Raleigh forthe opening of the State Fair. Road work in the area may lead some tothink getting to the fair will be easier. But WRAL'sTom Lawrencefound out Friday that's not necessarily the case.

Traffic and full parking lots are the part of the fair no one likes. Andwith 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 fora smoother ride. Duraleigh has been widened to five lanes between EbenezerChurch and Blue Ridge Road giving more traffic a green light.

"The congestion will be alleviated as compared to years past," said GlennWhittington, 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 thinga driver can bring to the fair is patience.

Next year Wade Avenue traffic will enter fair parking using the new EdwardsMill interchange and that will help traffic problems. This year, planahead and leave early.

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

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

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

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