Daytona Asphalt project on schedule
The massive repaving of Daytona International Speedway's 2.5-mile tri-oval is on schedule and moving forward, according to project manager Bill Braniff. Lane Construction, which is contracted to demolish the Speedway's 52-year-old asphalt and repave the historic race course, has put down two layers of asphalt on one half (Turn 2 to Turn 3) of the 3,200-foot backstretch. The company is at the same point with Daytona's two short chutes, or the straight-aways connecting the tri-oval to Turns 4 and 1 on the front-stretch.
The Lane Construction crew is in the tricky process of grading the lime-rock base in the 31-degree banking in Turn 3.
On Thursday, a grader held by a bulldozer on the Speedway's rim road began compacting the base in Turn 3 -- yet another milestone in this job that started July 5 and officially concludes Jan. 1, 2011.
When the job is complete, the track will have four layers of new asphalt.
Braniff said recent weather conditions -- unusually dry for this time of year -- have worked in favor of the project. Lane Construction's come to a standstill when it rains.
"We've been blessed with good weather," Braniff said. "We've been able to take advantage of that and stay on schedule."
Braniff is senior director of construction at North American Testing Company, a subsidiary of International Speedway Corp., which owns DIS and 11 other major racing facilities in America.
With all the lights, catch fence and SAFER barriers down and out of the way, the Speedway stage belongs to Lane Construction.
Braniff said the game plan is to pave certain areas at prescribed times, beginning with the backstretch and tri-oval areas.
Various parts of the track are in various stages of the project, with the back straightaway and frontstretch getting the bulk of attention at this point.
The original pavement remains in Turns 1 and 2 and Turn 4. Braniff said there's no reason to rip out the old asphalt until other parts of the track get the new blacktop.
"This is no time to pat yourself on the back, but things are going well," Braniff said.
The track is taking this construction opportunity to add more conduits (pipes) under the track for television or telephone cables.
"It's a good time to be doing it because you're doing all this work and the track is out of commission," Braniff said.
"We'll be starting that in the next month. We've talked to our I.T. folks and the people at DIS to see the best places to put them."
There is so much interest in this project, the Speedway has billboards on I-95 telling race fans to come by the facility and take a look.
"We've seen several people in the (Oldfield) grandstands taking photos when we go by that area," Braniff said. "That's open for business and we encourage everyone to come out and take a look. If they wave, we'll wave back.
"This is certainly a high-profile job and we're glad to have it and welcome and appreciate the interest the community has taken in it."