Austin (KXAN) — As Formula 1 drivers start their engines, fans headed to the U.S. Grand Prix waited in long lines to get to the Circuit of the Americas track Friday.
The event has grown in attendance year after year. Last year, Visit Austin said 440,000 people attended the three-day event, making a big contribution to the city’s economy.
With traffic reduced to one lane in or out of COTA, heavy traffic is expected throughout the weekend.
Toga Pendrick lives less than a mile from the track and said it can be frustrating to plan around the traffic. He’s attending a charity event Saturday and says he’ll have to leave much earlier than originally thought.
“I was already expecting to leave an hour and a half before the event started. And we’re going to probably add another hour just to make sure we get there with time to spare,” Pendrick said.
A spokesperson for the city of Austin’s Transportation and Public Works Department said access to the event relies on county and state roads.
They said people should be mindful of increased activity in and around Waterloo Park, as that is one of the main shuttle locations for the event as well.
Alberto Herrera from Mexico City opted to drive himself to the first day of racing. He said getting to the event was relatively easy, but parking was another matter.
“It’s pretty crowded. The traffic jam is something – I don’t know how it’s going to be Sunday., but I’m happy to be here,” Herrera said.