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Best Sports/Entertainment: Circuit of the Americas/Formula One U.S. Grand Prix

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The Circuit of the Americas is the first Grand Prix facility in the U.S. built exclusively for Formula One racing. The circuit was built around a state-of-the-art 3.4-mile track. It can seat up to 120,000.

Photo courtesy of Austin Bridge & Road
Crews pave the binder course of the track using three Vogle pavers in echelon to create a smooth surface.
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Austin Commercial headed construction on the project, which is located on about 1,000 acres in southeast Travis County. Work was completed in November 2012.

One of the most detailed and challenging components of the project was paving the track. Paving was performed by collaborative teams from Austin Commercial and Austin Bridge & Road, using a complex paving process to meet specifications.

It was not an easy task to comply with specifications on asphalt-mix design and tight tolerances for asphalt placement. The track had to meet specifications for evenness, smoothness and elevation, since Formula One cars would be traveling at speeds of up to 200 mph. Austin paved the track in echelon, using three pavers working in concert to achieve the desired "hot-to-hot" joints, using a fourth paver on the turns. While paving, Austin used Trimble 3D robotic survey equipment, which controlled paving machine accuracy to match the 3D-design model.

Difficult soil conditions made for another hurdle. The team discovered that clay beneath the track prevented achieving a consistent product. Crews excavated and replaced 10 ft of material below and reinstalled the excavated clay in moisture and density controlled lifts.

Schedule delays also hampered work. Austin got the green light to start construction in February 2011, only to be stopped in June due to contract disputes.

Once construction restarted in fall 2011, the team was hit with another setback: 19 in. of rain in 30 days at the scheduled time for track excavation. Storm drains were not in place yet, so pumps were placed at various sites around the track to remove the water.

Rain continued throughout the winter and early spring of 2012, finally stopping in May to allow full construction to start again. With an original construction schedule of 21 months, these setbacks left the team with only 15 months to complete and pave the complex racing facility.

Key Players

Owner Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas

General Contractor Austin Commercial, Austin, Texas

Lead Design Tilke GmbH, Aachen, Germany

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