AUSTIN (KXAN) — Approximately 25,000 people descended on the Circuit of the Americas to enjoy the Fourth of July firework show only to find themselves sitting in a traffic disaster. Wait times to exit the parking lot were estimated at nearly two hours.
Austin Symphony’s Fourth of July concert is a city event, so Austin Police were on hand to cover the traffic situation. Working an event at COTA is new for APD because normally Travis County Sheriff’s Office handles all the traffic at the venue.
A COTA spokesperson told KXAN via email that traffic should be expected at any large scale event and they work as safely and quickly as possible to get guests out.
“Everyone’s trying to get out of there at one time and it’s just impossible,” said Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area of the county where the track sits. “Then people start blowing their horns and it’s a little uncomfortable…COTA just lent their property to the City of Austin so the fireworks could take place, and the music was beautiful, and the fireworks were great. It was that the traffic was a little jumbled up.”
Rascal Flatts, Lionel Ritchie, and KISS will all playing the Austin 360 Amphitheater over the next week, so concertgoers should expect the usual backup that comes with those concerts. Travis County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to direct traffic flow at these events and plan to have as many as 30 officers at major intersections around COTA.