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Contracts for I-71 work near Kentucky Speedway awarded
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded a contract to improve Interstate 71 and other roads near the Kentucky Speedway — scene of a massive traffic jam last July during the track’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

After the traffic debacle, which resulted in delays on I-71 of up to six hours, both the track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. and the cabinet announced that improvements would be made to prevent a recurrence.

Last week the cabinet awarded the contract to Sunesis Construction Co. of West Chester, Ohio, for $3,708,082. A news release from the cabinet said Sunesis was the lowest of five bidders, and its bid was $220,183 below the cabinet’s estimated cost.

The project calls for improving the I-71 southbound ramp to allow a third lane of right-turn to exit traffic onto Ky. 35, which runs past the Speedway. Also, six-tenths of a mile of Ky. 35 will be widened from four to five lanes with two full-width shoulders.

And a pedestrian tunnel will be built beneath Ky. 35 to allow race patrons to walk safely from new parking lots to the Speedway.

The contract calls for all work to be completed by May 25. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the Speedway on June 30.

“The commonwealth has a compelling interest in maintaining and protecting public mobility and safety at all times and for all occasions, including large sporting events,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said in the news release.

The release said the cabinet agreed to make the improvements after Speedway Motorsports took steps to prevent a recurrence of the problems by purchasing 143 acres of adjacent land for more parking and contracting with an experienced parking management company.

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