SPARTA, KY (FOX19) - If you were one of the thousands who attended the NASCAR Sprint Cup events at the Kentucky Speedway last summer, and dealt with traffic headaches, you'll be happy to hear that major improvements are going on right now to make the visitor experience better.
The Speedway and the Kentucky Department of Transportation are working together on widening the road that leads from I-71 to the Speedway, adding hundreds more parking spaces and installing a pedestrian tunnel that will safely get patrons into the events they come to see.
"After the events this summer we saw some issues arise that needed to be taken care of," said Nancy Wood with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "So along with the Speedway, they're building a lot more capacity: parking lots, facilities, onsite as well as offsite, so that we don't have that problem again with the next event."
A tunnel is being dug to shuttle patrons underneath KY-35 from new parking lots to the Speedway. That allows people to get safely inside and keeps cars moving at the same time.
So to get this work done, the state has temporarily shut down KY-35, which runs right past the Speedway. It's expected to take 75 days to get the tunnel in place.
Sunesis Construction of West Chester is the contractor doing the work, at a cost of $3.7 million. Once the tunnel is complete, the widening of KY-35 will begin, as soon as weather allows, making it seven lanes wide all the way from I-71 to all of the Speedway's entrances.
In addition, an extra lane will be added to the ramp from I-71 south to KY-35, making it three total lanes ushering people to the Speedway property.
So while it won't be the 180 miles per hour that the professionals get to on the track, Speedway officials and the state are planning for a much quicker drive into Gallatin County's biggest attraction, and they expect all the work will be done in time for the first race on June 28.