Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2001

Race day traffic causes few problems

June 7, 2001

In accordance with the prediction of the Kansas Highway Patrol, the traffic flow for the Basehor area was minimal during the first race weekend at the Kansas Speedway.

Last week in a meeting of law enforcement officials from several neighboring cities, representatives from the KHP said they expected the amount of traffic on Kansas Highway 24-40 to be small for the first race.

According to KHP officials, the first race day was to be used as a practice run for the bigger events later this summer.

Basehor Police Chief Vince Weston said there were few problems in dealing with vehicles heading toward the track Saturday on 24-40.

"For Basehor, (traffic) was normal," Weston said. "The only time we actually had any activity was from approximately 5:45-6:30 p.m. The morning was strictly routine. There was some increase in eastbound traffic around 10 a.m. It was like any other day with the busy time being early morning and late evening."

In preparation for the event on Saturday, the Basehor Police Department increased the number of patrol cars to three starting at 6 a.m. The increased number of cars was ordered to deal with the race as well as a citywide yard sale and trash pickup. After 6:30 p.m., the number of patrol cars was cut back to two.

Although the race on Saturday was one of the smaller ones scheduled at the Kansas Speedway this season, Weston said he considered Saturday a test run for the Basehor Police Department, as well as other agencies.

"Not so much for us as it was for some of the larger agencies that have to deal with the interstate highways," Weston said. "For us, it gave us some idea of what we might have to expect on the larger race days, especially westbound at the completion of the races."

For the bigger events, Weston said he expects more traffic during the peak periods. For these events, there will be a continued effort to provide an increased number of patrol cars in Basehor to ensure traffic safety.

"There will be more cars on those days," Weston said. "We will try to maintain at least three officers during the peak periods and possibly four if our resources are at that level. We don't have a problem with getting folks to come into work. People are more than happy to do it."

Due to the preparation of the surrounding agencies as well as the Basehor Police Department, there were few problems on race day. There were no accidents reported and officers made no arrests on Saturday.

In an effort to help visitors with directions to the racetrack, Weston said there were two officers stationed in the Bichelmeyers Grocery parking lot. During the day, the officers helped between 15-20 vehicles to get to the racetrack.

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