Wednesday, June 14, 2000

N. Ky. braces for race day traffic

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPARTA — Leave early and stay late. Y'all come.

        That's the message from the new Kentucky Speedway to race fans heading toward this tiny Gallatin County community for the opening weekend of stock car racing Friday and Saturday.

        Traffic jams are a fact of life when 60,000 people converge on one site. But Kentucky Speedway officials want people to get to the track early.

        “The gates open at 2 p.m., but people can come to the Speedway and park much earlier, if they wish,” track communications director Tim Bray said.

        Traffic on Interstate 75 and Interstate 71, both northbound and southbound but especially coming from the Cincinnati area, will be very heavy.

        “We are doing all we can to move people into the speedway as quickly as possible, but we feel there could be traffic backed up as much as three miles on I-71,” said state highway department spokesman Jim Shea.

        The speedway has a capacity of about 66,000 spectators, and officials expect the Kroger 225 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday to be a near sellout. About 30,000 are expected Friday for qualifying and the NASCAR Slim Jims All-Pro 150 stock car race.

        Traffic congestion will probably be heaviest approaching construction at the Donaldson Road exits off I-71/75 in Erlanger.

        Highway officials also expect congestion at the split of I-75 and I-71 in Boone County.

        Other traffic changes for the race include:

        • The I-75 northbound ramp to I-71 will be closed and traffic will be detoured to the Richwood (Ky. 338) exit.

        • Ky. 35 will be widened to five lanes of traffic inbound to the speedway, with cones and signs marking the lanes.

        • The right lanes of I-71 northbound and southbound at the Ky. 35 exit ramps will be closed to allow merging traffic free flow onto I-71 after the race.


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