Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Speedway traffic:No RSVP required


April 25, 2001

Tonganoxie is much like the homeowner whose next-door neighbor is throwing a huge party.

It's clear the affair will affect the homeowner. It's not clear, however, exactly how dramatic the effect will be.

As planning continues for the opening this June of the Kansas Speedway, Tonganoxie braces itself. The speedway and its accompanying traffic and noise certainly will impact Tonganoxie, only 16 miles away.

Whether the city can handle the increases in traffic and the decreases in convenience on race weekends only can be answered once the party starts.

As Tonganoxie's police chief, Ken Carpenter, sees it, the city could be hit hard once the party's over.

"My only concern is that traffic will back up at 24-40 and K-16 where the road goes from four lanes to two lanes," he said. "If it stays steady all the way from the raceway to here, which it likely would do, we would have a backup at that intersection. Before it starts, traffic will be scattered. But when it ends, we'll catch it all at once."

The speedway's party list is long. The new stadium will seat 75,000.

For years, the state and county have tried to gauge how racing fans will affect interstate and state highways leading to the track. On race weekends, 35 additional Kansas Highway Patrol troopers will be shifted to the roads near the track. Tonganoxie, too, plans to double its on-duty officers, from two to four, on race weekends.

All of this planning is commendable. It truly is.

But only after the first party of the summer slated for June 2 will Tonganoxie know just what kind of neighbor the Kansas Speedway will be.

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