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Less traffic from Indian Wells/La Quinta Ironman than years past

This year's Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta race brought many visitors to the area.

Residents throughout the area were stuck in extra traffic on Sunday.

The road closures for the cycling portion of the race made an impact throughout the city.

“It’s kind of hard because I live like 5 minutes from here," said Sebatian Prieto an Indio resident, "It took me like an hour to get to the restaurant.”

La Quinta City leaders say they have improved their plans after issues over the past few years when it has come to traffic on race day. During its inaugural year in 2018, citizens and business owners slammed the city with complaints about being delayed in traffic sometimes for hours as a result of street closures put in place for the cycling portion of the competition.

Although, the last race in 2019 did bring fewer traffic disruptions.

“It’s way better than the first year. The first year it took me 4 hours to get here," said Prieto.

But despite the rush of visitors, some La Quinta shops said it was business as usual for them.

“Maybe a slight influx just because there’s some more people in town, but seems like any other normal weekend for us," said Summer Hawking, a manager at RD RUNNR in Old Town.

In weeks leading up to the event, the City of La Quinta and neighboring cities have been putting up signage to remind people of the road closures on race day. Also, brochures were mailed out to residents in the area who will likely be affected.

In efforts to help people plan their alternate routes, the City of La Quinta is providing detour maps for different communities and religious organizations in the area. The maps include specific information for each neighborhood and a detour map to get around the event.

If you do not see your neighborhood, community, or religious organization listed, you can contact the City of La Quinta's Ironman race liaison, Zander Johnston, at or (760) 777-7044. 

"We did our best to try designate places where you can't go across the race route," said Johnston. "The city is still open to residents and surrounding cities. We welcome everybody to come in."

Non-residents and visitors are directed to use the general brochure map.

The City of La Quinta said drivers can expect the peak traffic hours to be between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Another way to plan for race day road closures and traffic is by texting "IWLQ" to 888-777 to receive Ironman alerts straight to your phone. If you have any Ironman related questions, you can call (760) 239-9226. The number also provides help in Spanish.

Heidi Mcarthur, the owner of Jadabug's Kids Boutique in La Quinta said she's not worried about the road closures keeping customers away this year.

"I have faith in the City of La Quinta, and what they have done for traffic because the first year- it was terrible," said Mcarthur. "We had basically a $0 day or nearly a $0 day."

Other residents in the area said they were not a fan of the race detours in 2018.

"We waited for hours for our AC heating guy to come," said La Quinta resident Tim Perry.

Perry said he doesn't want to deal with the extra traffic this Sunday.

"We're gonna take the day to pack and stay inside," said Perry.

However, other residents have plans to join the race crowds.

"I'd love to go out and watch them and cheer them on and check it out," said La Quinta resident Cory Martin.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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