Construction around COTA track continues, F1 race in one week

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist SCOTT McKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 9, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 9 at 7:41 PM

ELROY -- It doesn't matter which street you drive down, if you're around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) race track, you're going to see construction.

"It's inconvenient," said  Richard Rendon who lives near the track. 

"It's only two ways to get in and out of here. So now that there are more cars, it makes these two ways a little more hectic," agreed Dierre McLennan who also lives near the track.

Crews are putting the final touches on the COTA track for the Formula 1 race. Opening day is next Friday.

COTA officials say from the outside, the track is complete and that crews are just putting the finishing touches on buildings, moving in furniture and hanging pictures around the nearly three and a half mile track.

But around the track, there is a lot of work going on. Crews are still installing bleachers around the raceway. They will have to lay the rows in and add the seats.

Then, there's the roads. COTA  engineers are constructing and paving Kellom Road. Currently, it is privately owned by COTA, but once the work is complete Travis County will purchase it. County officials are told the road won't be 100 percent ready by race weekend. It will still need drainage work and vegetation, but people will be able to drive on it.

And for now, county crews are working on some roads of their own.

"We started to put into motion, to get those roads up to a higher standard. What that meant for several of them was we needed to reconstruct the road," said Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources Executive Steven Manilla.

County crews mixed pavement with concrete and re-paved the roads around the track. A $1.3 million project. All that's left to do now, Manilla said, is stripe the pavement, clean the area and plant vegetation. Work that should all be done by race weekend.

"There's going to be some touch-ups, but the bulk of the road work that they really need to have for access and emergencies, that will be done," said Manilla. 

Elroy isn't the only town preparing for the race. In Austin, crews are working at night to clean the streets and repair pot holes to ensure that downtown will be ready for all the COTA fans. City crews will start closing down streets downtown to install stages next Wednesday.

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