NASCAR road closings cause traffic problems downtown ahead of race.


CHICAGO(CBS) — The NASCAR racing action is just hours away. But if you’re anywhere near downtown you saw the traffic snarl up as the roads were closed for the race.

CBS 2’s Marybel González reported that it was already a problem for some people Friday evening trying to get into and out of downtown, with roadblocks being set up on busy roads.

This weekend will be a whirlwind of activity, as not only the big race is taking place but also the July 4th celebrations.

There was excitement in the air as the Chicago NASCAR Street Race was about to begin.

Cody Jones, NASCAR engineer, said, “Everyone is driving past where we were parked – windows down and pumping their fists, cheering us on.”

The organizers laid out the red carpet to the adventurous racers.

“I expected it would be cool, but didn’t expect it be as big as it is – you know, the whole town shut down just for us,” said NASCAR driver Corey LaJoie.

But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour. Traffic jams have already been caused by the roadblocks and closings.

Some people struggled to enter the city, while others struggled to leave it.

“We’ve been waiting for a half-hour for a bus because all the routes have been rerouted and there are no other options – we’re stuck,” said a woman at the corner Washington and State streets. “That’s a problem.”

The race was not the only thing that caused the traffic to increase on Friday evening. AAA estimates that nearly 3 million people will be driving for the holiday weekend, a record.

There was a lot of traffic and also heavy security.

On Friday evening, police officers were already standing by at the downtown intersections. CPD also cancelled its days off to prepare for the busy holiday weekend.

Chicago Transit Authority has also put all hands on deck for this busy weekend. The Chicago Transit Authority said that there will be several bus reroutes within the downtown area. You can find a breakdown here.

The CTA recommends that you travel to the race using the ‘L’ train.