LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – As Formula One repaving races to the finish line, Clark County commissioners are publicly displaying their concerns with transportation during the race.
Questions also remain about financing the repaving and using temporary structures to potentially block businesses’ views that don’t pay for them.
The concerns rang at the end of Tuesday’s Clark County Board of Commissioners meeting, where Commissioner Tick Segerblom requested Formula One and Las Vegas Grand Prix (LVGP) personnel to publicly update on their operations.
“I can no longer complain. I just have to try to help fix it,” Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said during the meeting, referencing logistic concerns stemming from the race and construction.
The primary commissioner concern: How will the internationally recognized racing giant get 105,000 spectator-seat ticket holders and over 100,000 hospitality workers around the nearly four-mile track that cuts directly through the Las Vegas Strip?
Terry Miller, design and construction project manager for the F1 Las Vegas circuit, says those plans are still developing, but indicated hotel workers may have to park offsite and transfer over to their place of work.
“Monorail is only one (option). Shuttle service is another one,” Miller said, addressing the board.
“They cannot walk two miles, and then go do their job for eight hours standing on the hard floor, and then walk two miles to get to their cars,” Kirkpatrick said.
Pedestrians will also feel the transportation dilemma; the event will likely only be accessible by foot, as roads in and around the circuit will close in the evening and reopen the next morning for three days.
Stephanie Allen, lobbyist for LGVP, said they are encouraging spectators to stay at nearby hotels to limit vehicle necessity.
Miller said they are developing an app to help pedestrians navigate the strip with real-time information that established apps may not be able to.
LVGP also provided maps that indicate, when the track is hot, where temporary bridges will take approved vehicles in and out of the circuit, and temporary pedestrian bridges will allow people to move in and out.
The circuit also only travels down the southbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard, so vehicle traffic is expected to remain relatively unaffected until road closures begin for racing activity.
Despite letters from F1 sent to businesses along the circuit that encouraged them to pay licensing fees to “maintain sightedness” of the race, Miller says they are not strategically placing temporary structures – like lights, advertisements, or tall barriers – in front of those who have not paid.
Licensing rights are $1,500 per person, which is multiplied by the maximum occupancy of a venue allowed by its fire code.
“It’s the same all the way around the track so that we can have a safe track for the drivers,” Miller said after the meeting, detailing how lighting structures are placed roughly 100 feet away from each other throughout the circuit. “Whether you’re up in a hotel room or you’re in an activation zone, we have created the track lighting such that it is as transparent as you can get.”
Crews begin erecting lighting stations along Harmon Tuesday night and expect to finish all stations just days before the race. Track barriers and safety fencing begin placement at the beginning of October.
After F1 asked commissioners to pay half of its $80 million repaving costs in June – citing the utility and roadway improvements they’ve done that the county owns when not racing – Commissioner Tick Segerblom says those negotiations continue.
He acknowledged concerns that public transportation routes have suffered from construction, echoing concerns from the meeting that they’ll suffer even more during the race. But, he also acknowledges the international publicity that comes from the race, and the revenue generated from it, are keeping negotiations on the table.
“Obviously, it’s a huge impact. Maybe we can throw some money out there, but it’s not going to be anywhere close to 40 million,” Segerblom said after the meeting. “If (county staff) come back and say, ‘we negotiated $40 million,’ that would be concerning.
The Paddock Building on Koval and Harmon, referenced as “the heartbeat” of the November race, may see a name change soon as Allen said LVGP just recently became aware of the similarity to the name of the 1 October shooter.
“The word Paddock is a word that’s actually used globally. It’s a technical term that’s used for the pit or garage building. So, that’s why it’s been used,” Allen said.
LVGP officials confirmed they are also working with Clark County to establish watch parties for Las Vegas Valley locals who cannot afford tickets that start at $500 and soar to over $15,000.
Additional information about construction, road closures, and other items surrounding Formula One can be found on its website.