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US Grand Prix organisers in the dock
Traffic concerns are the latest difficulty facing organisers of the proposed US Grand Prix in Texas
Travis County planners submitted a report which stated to meet guidelines requiring the area of the circuit to be clear of fans within the required three hours would take as much as $15 million in road improvements and could not be completed by 2012 even if work started now.
The Austin American Statesman reported Travis County officials had estimated around 120,000 spectators would attend a grand prix using 35,000 vehicles. To clear the venue it would need additional lanes built on existing highways.
"Two years is not enough time to put in the infrastructure needed to get down to three hours," Joe Gieselman, manager of Travis County's Transportation and Natural Resources Department, told the newspaper. "I would not look for the major improvements to be done by the first race."
The report coincided with local promoter Full Throttle Productions (FTP) making its second visit to the Travis County Commissioners Court seeking permits to site and build the estimated US$200 million venue. A fortnight ago FTP was criticised by the court for its lack of traffic studies and other basic information, and officials said without this they could not even make preliminary decisions about the project.
There are also concerns being raised about who would be expected to foot the bill for work done to the local infrastructure.
Richard Suttle, FTP's lawyer, told the court: "We heard loud and clear … the information flow is going to open up." The organisation submitted more detailed plans aimed at addressing many of the court's concerns. Suttle explained FTP had also commissioned an environmental report and hired two traffic engineering firms to conduct studies.
He admitted that to meet targets groundbreaking would "have to take place by December".