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Kentucky Speedway traffic issues sorted out
The 100,000 race fans expected at the end of the month at Kentucky Speedway won’t get stuck in traffic this year, Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday. The $3.7 million worth of road improvements invested by the state and a $8 million to $10 million private investment from the speedway’s owner, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., will prevent a repeat of the traffic backup during last year’s inaugural Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

In 2011, 13,000 fans missed the race as traffic backed up onto Interstate 71.

Beshear toured the improvements the track Monday morning as state and track officials urged fans to come back to to the second annual Quaker State 400 on June 30.

“I would say the improvements that were made will definitely make your life easier,” Beshear said. “Do expect some delays, because as I mentioned there’s gonna be delays at any Sprint Cup Race anywhere in the country. But I believe with all the improvements the state has made and all the improvements in parking that the speedway has made, that whatever delays will be very reasonable that any NASCAR fan would expect when you are trying to get 100,000 people into one place on race day.”

The state expanded the Sparta interchange by the speedway on I-71 from two to three lanes and expanded Ky. 35 in front of the speedway to a maximum of seven possible lanes that could be used on race day, counting the shoulders.

If needed, the shoulder on northbound I-71 could open to southbound traffic going to the speedway, said Rob Hans, chief district engineer in Northern Kentucky for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The state also built a pedestrian tunnel underneath Ky. 35 for people to walk from a new parking to the speedway.

The track added 20,000 additional parking spaces on 170 acres Kentucky Speedway bought since the last Sprint Cup race. An overpass that creates a tunnel for traffic to get to the infield that the racetrack built in the spring will eliminate another bottleneck of traffic, track officials said.

All racetracks experience growing pains when they first open, said Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

. “We had some and ours happened to be traffic,” Smith said. “There’s so many fans in this part of the country. That’s what created the problem. We just had too many people. We don’t know yet how many people that were here and tried to get here. It was probably upwards to 150,000 people tried to get into the speedway and we couldn’t handle it.” Cincinnati.com
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