Contingency plans are being rolled out at the Lode's Motor Speedway in advance of this weekend's NASCAR Coca Cola 500 race.
Some 170,000 spectators are expected to descend on Concord's track in North Carolina, tens of thousands of whom would have entered the giant arena across the two footbridges which are now out of commission. Instead it is likely that traffic control will be used to allow spectators to cross the busy Route 29 highway safely, a measure which, according to state emergency services co-ordinator David Hampton, will require careful planning in an already very busy period.
'It will cause traffic problems but we will prepare, ' he said. 'If the bridges are not able to be used then the people will have to cross the road on foot.'
Similar traffic control is already used on a smaller scale after each race meeting. For 10 minutes after the finish, cars on the highway are stopped to get people over the road safely. Hampton said it was this 10 minute halt which prevented the number of injuries from the collapse being higher.
'Outside this 10 minute window the highway would have been nose to tail with people leaving, ' he said. 'The number of casualties could have been a great deal higher.'