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Officials Make Final Austin F1 Traffic Plans

Updated: Thursday, November 15 2012, 07:11 PM CST

Months in the making, Friday is when the Formula One traffic plan gets put to the test. Downtown could have competition for the most gridlocked spot in Austin, as thousands of race fans make their way to the Circuit of the Americas track for practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s race.

Steve Sexton, Circuit of the Americas president, said during a Thursday press conference that each day the track will see up to 120,000 fans, 17,000 cars, between 500-700 taxis, more than 500 shuttles, and more than 300 helicopters. Sexton says every single one of the shuttles will be in operation Friday, although he doesn’t know how many of the 115,000 three-day ticket holders will show up.

With a select few fans and hundreds of media and team crews filling the Circuit of the Americas track, Thursday was a warm-up lap before the real crowds this weekend.

"There will be things that will happen,” said Sexton. “Our job is to react to them, adjust."

Sexton says the track’s transportation plan for the estimated 120,000 fans is good to go, even after the recent Formula Run race created a bottleneck with just 5,000 fans. “The Formula Run event was a smaller event and did not have a transportation plan attached to it," said Sexton.  “So they're two completely different animals."

Sexton says each mode of transportation will have a dedicated way in. "So we're maximizing the use of all the roadways coming in to even out that flow as much as possible.”

So while organizers are using essentially the same transportation playbook, Sexton says Thursday night crews are making final tweaks, changing signs to show major traffic changes, for example, the opening up of opposite lanes to ease traffic flow into and out of the track.

And officials say the factor most likely to impact traffic: what time fans decide to show up.

"We sent out an email blast this morning to all of our ticket holders reminding them please get there early."

As for nearby residents, those we talked to say they’re concerned they’ll be stuck at home.

“I think neighbors will definitely have access to their homes, we've promised them that,” said Sexton. “But that said, there'll be traffic."

On Thursday, track officials also announced a new iPhone app for the race, part of which covers transportation. Officials said all but 1,000 tickets had been sold as of Thursday.

Also headed to the track: between 4,000 to 5,000 employees.

By Adam BennettOfficials Make Final Austin F1 Traffic Plans


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Race Schedule

Fri. Nov.16
Practice 1 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Practice 2 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Sat. Nov. 17
Practice 3 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Qualifying noon

Sun. Nov.18
Race 1 p.m.

Complete Schedule


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