Paving begins on COTA race track


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalists KENNETH NULL and SCOTT GUEST

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 10 at 6:20 PM

ELROY, Texas -- With 100 days to go before the U.S. Grand Prix paving has begun at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.

Circuit of the Americas did not want to share what the total cost of its building project has been do date, but it did say there are anywhere from 500 to 700 workers at the Elroy site each day. Construction crews continue to put their own pedal to the metal to make the mid-November deadline.  KVUE does know the three-part paving process began Friday and will take a couple of months to complete.

As Formula 1 cars sped around the track at the recent German Grand Prix, certain camera shots allowed viewers to see the race from the driver's perspective. 

Friday a KVUE photographer was escorted along the track in Elroy; not quite the same drama as in Germany. Still, with just 100 days to go before the checkered flag is dropped on Austin's inaugural race day, Friday's first part of the paving process is what Julie Loignon of Circuit of the America's calls "an important first step and important milestone."

She says the racing surface requires three layers.

"A base layer, a binding layer and then a binding surface," Loignon said.

All three layers are then paved simultaneously to ensure a seamless, uniform surface. Loignon says the paving materials are unique, and you won't find them on Texas highways.

"It's going to be a surface that is meant to be very skid resistant," said Loignon. "It has to be able to handle vehicles at a very high rate of speed and can withstand the hot Texas sun and rain if necessary."

It takes about seven to 12 days to complete each layer of the paving process. Loignon says the paving and other completion requirements will result in an accelerated construction pace over the next few months.

"It will stop looking like a construction site and start looking like an entertainment venue, and that's very exciting for us," said Loignon.

It's exciting too for those that KVUE talked to who live or work nearby.

"I am excited about it," said Felicia Hernandez who lives near Elroy. "I look forward to really seeing more of the race track and the environment."

"More than anything Austin should be excited about this," said Westlake resident Dilum Chandrasoma. "If you look around the whole United States and around the world, people are suffering for venues like this. We have basically the Olympics in our backyard."

F1's international governing will inspect the track on Sept. 25.

Click here for more information on COTA.

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