Traffic on Kentucky 35 approaching the
Kentucky Speedway was at a crawl prior to
the Quaker State 400 on July 9.
(Sparta, Ky.) - It appears a project to upgrade the roads and parking lots around Kentucky Speedway is set to begin.
The $3.7 million contract was awarded to an Ohio company by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Monday. Sunesis Construction will widen lanes of Kentucky 35, as well as upgrade the southbound ramp of Interstate 71.
Sunesis’ bid came in about $220,000 below the cabinet’s estimates.
The area was the site of a traffic nightmare last July as the facility hosted its inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The backup on I-71 stretched for miles and some race fans with tickets never even made it to the race.
“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,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock said. “Much of the traffic caught in the backup on I-71 the day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race was simply trying to pass through the area. Any backup on a roadway, especially an interstate, is potentially hazardous.”
Those backups were largely due to a lack of parking spaces around the track. In August, track owner Speedway Motorsports, Inc. purchased a 143 acre property across Kentucky 35 which it plans to develop into 10,000 new parking spaces.
A tunnel will also be built beneath Kentucky 35 to allow people who park in the new lot easy walking access to the speedway.
The contract states that construction should be complete by May 25.