MIS alters post-race traffic patterns
In a continuing commitment to improve the fan experience at Michigan International Speedway, track officials, together with the Michigan Department of Transportation and surrounding townships, have made changes to the speedway’s outbound traffic pattern.
These outbound traffic initiatives are some of the most significant improvements at Michigan International Speedway in the track’s 39-year history, speedway President Roger Curtis said.
“Traffic affects every single person who comes to Michigan International Speedway, so I can’t emphasize how important this outbound traffic plan is,” Curtis said. “A primary concern at any sporting facility has to be addressing traffic. It is our top priority to get all our race fans home safely and in a timely manner following the races. This revised, outbound pattern will help us in doing that, and will improve the overall guest experience.”
MDOT and MIS studied the traffic patterns extensively over the past six months to come up with the revised post-race traffic plan. More than 150,000 guests in about 40,000 vehicles travel to the racetrack for a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, so Curtis stressed the importance of strong partnerships with MDOT, the Michigan State Police, POCO, Inc., a traffic control device company, and township law enforcement agencies to manage race-day traffic for each race weekend.
Finally, the track’s operations staff and parking supervisors coordinate it all with the help of countless volunteer groups and GameDay Management Group, a traffic control company that has supervised traffic control for events such as the Daytona 500 and Detroit’s Super Bowl XL in 2006.
Following the speedway’s NEXTEL Cup Series races on Sunday, June 17 and Sunday, Aug. 19, outbound traffic will be routed as follows:
1. A one-way pattern will occur on M-50 North from Brooklyn to Napoleon.
2. The two-lane outbound pattern on US-12 East will extend from MIS to M-52.
A modified version of this traffic pattern on a smaller scale was tested following the August 2006 NEXTEL Cup race with immediate results. Curtis said he received several e-mails and phone calls from race fans after that race who said they noticed a significant decrease in the time it took to travel back to their homes.
Curtis also believes that continuous scrutiny of the traffic plan and continued improvements on US-12, one of the speedway’s primary road arteries, will continue to make traffic flow out of the speedway even faster. MDOT and the State of Michigan unveiled a three-year plan last year that allocated $18.5 million in safety and access improvements along US-127 and US-12, the key corridors around MIS. The plan also includes placing directional signs to MIS along state roads and interstates near the track.
“By making improvements along this and other key corridors in south central Michigan, it confirms our commitment to the economic vitality that MIS brings to this state, and in particular to Jackson and Lenawee counties,” Dee Parker, MDOT’s Jackson Transportation Service Center (TSC) manager, said. “We hope these road improvements will be greatly welcomed by race fans in an effort to make travel easier to and from MIS on race day. We welcome working with MIS to enhance race day travel for our customers.”
The surrounding townships of Brooklyn, Cambridge Township and Napoleon have seen the plan and some have submitted letters of approval and support to MDOT for it. Speedway and MDOT officials met also with safety and law enforcement agencies from many of the surrounding townships to make sure everyone is aware of the plan.
The traffic initiatives are another step in Michigan International Speedway’s commitment to the fans. Several other fan enhancement projects for 2007 are under way at MIS, including the replacement of grandstand seating in Turn One. Two grandstands in Turn One have been torn down and are being replaced with new, fan friendly grandstands. The new grandstands offer race fans premium seating and amazing sightlines of MIS’ two-mile oval. The new seats are four inches wider than the seats in the old grandstands, and will allow fans to have more leg room. All of the new seats are bench-style with seat backs. The new grandstands are also 10 rows higher than the old grandstands so fans who sit there will have breathtaking views of all the on-track action at MIS — including a fantastic view down pit road. The new seats will carry Michigan International Speedway’s familiar and distinct yellow and red pattern.
Along with the new Turn One seating, MIS is in the process of enhancing tram stops and will purchase additional trams for disabled guests, as well as build premium RV camping along pit road.
Tickets for all the speedway’s races, including the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Michigan 400 on June 17 and the 3M Performance 400 on August 19, are on sale by calling the MIS Ticket Hotline at 1-800-354-1010 or by visiting www.MISpeedway.com.