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Circuit of The Americas has begun the intensive paving process that is required to prepare the circuit and entire facility for its inaugural Grand Prix in November.
The massive project will involve final paving of the 3.4-mile racing surface, venue access and service roads, and walkways around the property. A paving project this large and complex requires acute attention to detail to ensure the finished surface can accommodate varying weather conditions, as well as high performance vehicles racing at extremely high speeds throughout the year.
"This is an exciting milestone in our construction process, and will help us quickly transform Circuit of The Americas from a construction site into a working sports and entertainment facility," said Circuit Vice President of Public and Community Relations Julie Loignon. "Our paving team, which is comprised of Austin Commercial, Tilke GmbH and a variety of subcontractors, has extensive experience in projects requiring this extreme level of detail, and we're confident the end result will be a Grade 1 racetrack that puts Austin on the world motorsports map."
Defined as "echelon paving," the process involves three to four paving machines moving in unison along the racetrack surface to ensure a uniform, seamless top layer of asphalt. The process and equipment are considered to be highly specialized. One particular instance in which this paving machine is being used is in Central Texas to pave the State Highway 130 extension.
The pavement material itself has a unique composition compared to that used for public roadways. It is required to be highly skid-resistant for the type of vehicles driving on the track, as well as the high speeds being reached. The composition ensures consistency of texture, smoothness of ride, and the conformance to the specifications outlined by the FIA. Approximately 10,500 tons of hot mix asphalt is used to pave the track itself.
The paving process will limit access to on-site visits and interviews. The Circuit of The Americas communications team will work to accommodate media interviews or meetings at our downtown offices during this time.
The different layers of pavement are unique in that they each are composed of a different combination of materials, or aggregates. Aggregates have been sourced locally from Central Texas. The closer to the surface a layer is the higher percentage of bitumen- a material used for paving- it contains. The layers are as follows:
3.1 in. of base course2 in. of binder course1.6 in. of wearing course
Cure time between layers can vary with the construction schedule. It is typical to have at least a day or two between different layers being laid, but it is permissible to have even longer periods to fit the access requirements for construction. It is desirable to have the shorter period between the final two layers as this minimizes the amount of surface cleaning between layers.
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