Thousands of people will be heading to the RBC Center instead of work Wednesday to take part in a day-long business seminar featuring former secretary of state Colin Powell, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani as well as master motivator Zig Zigler.
"It's a big event tomorrow," RBC Center Assistant General Manager Larry Perkins said. "Raleigh is really on the map these days."
The "Get Motivated" seminars are attracting tens of thousands of people at stops all over the country and Tuesday Raleigh's RBC Center will play host once again.
"We're prepared for 18,000," Perkins said. "Last time they were here, we did 16,700."
The event starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4:45 p.m., which means thousands of people will be making their way home in the middle of rush hour traffic, which caused backups for hours last time the seminar was in town. But Perkins says they've figured out what went wrong in 2007.
"We were kind of concentrating on more about what was around the RBC Center as opposed to going further out," he said.
That's why the RBC Center has been in close contact with local authorities for months. They've mapped out alternate routes and developed a traffic plan.
"What you'll see is police let's say on I-440, when the ramp to Wade Avenue backs up, we're going to leap frog those people let's say to Hillsborough Street or before that to Lake Boone Trail to try to get them into local streets," Perkins said.
Officials say if you're coming to the RBC Center Tuesday, get there early and car pool if you can.
Parking is $10 and the parking lot will open at 5:30 a.m. The RBC Center's doors will open at 6:45 a.m.
Officials say if you're not heading to the event, figure out an alternate route and take it in the morning and in the afternoon since there will likely be heavy traffic when the event lets out.
The exit ramp from eastbound Wade Avenue to Blue Ridge Road is expected to be closed from 7:15 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Motorists from north Raleigh and U.S. 64 traveling towards RTP, Durham and points west of the Triangle should consider using I-540 or Glenwood Avenue (U.S. 70) as alternate routes. Six Forks Road can also be used to take I-540 to I-40.
Motorists traveling I-40 eastbound to Raleigh should avoid the Wade Avenue exit and continue eastbound to the Gorman Street, Lake Wheeler, South Saunders and Hammond Road exits as alternatives. Motorists traveling to points east of Raleigh on I-40 should take I-540 around the north of the city to west on U.S. 64 Bypass to I-440 East and back to I-40 eastbound. Westbound traffic from Johnston County and points east of Raleigh can take I-440 West to U.S. 64 Bypass to I-540 back to I-40 to the west of Raleigh.
NCDOT will have message boards in place to help drivers traveling on the alternate routes.
For more information about the event, visit the RBC Center's website at www.rbccenter.com.