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DATE News (chronologically)
10/01/10
track news
Rain slows repaving, but crews ahead of schedule
Bill Braniff, who is the project manager for Daytona International Speedway's historic repaving effort, is a master of mathematics and engineering. When asked for the time-date status report of Daytona's humongous asphalt mission, Braniff used his fingers to count it out.

"July, August, September," he said, holding up three fingers, followed by, "October, November, December. We are at the halfway point."

"One thing about it -- you start here, but that end date never moves," Braniff continued. "Unlike a public section job, where the end-date can get pushed out, we don't have that. There is a date certain when they are going to run the Rolex 24 and Daytona 500. Our Jan. 1 date doesn't change."

The roots of this ambitious undertaking go back to May, when Lane Construction began trucking in parts and pieces that would be used in the reconstruction process.

The mobile asphalt plant, behind Turn 2, was up and running in June. Work crews started taking down SAFER barrier and stadium lights July 5, the official starting line to this mammoth task of pulling out the 52-year-old asphalt and putting in all new blacktop. Now that the calendar has one toe in October, not only is the sunlight fading, but so are Daytona's project days.

"From the start, we've approached this as 'Don't pat yourself on the back too soon' and 'Don't get too up or too down,' " Braniff said. "Adversity will happen. The key is fix it quickly and maintain progress." "We're halfway into the project and more than halfway done," he added. "You can find some lemonade there. You can't rest. We need to keep after it." The last week of activity was not kind to Braniff or Lane Construction, the primary contractor.

The crew lost almost two days to rain and the hulky Titan 525 paver, used to pave the 2.5-mile course, has started eating parts, which must be replaced with parts shipped here overseas from German manufacturer Ingersoll Rand.

"We got nothing done on the big oval in the last week," Braniff said. "But we have made progress."

With the big brute getting a quick parts makeover and tune-up, Lane Construction has turned its efforts from the race course to other areas that need attention, such as the backstretch skid pad. The massive area, which is approximately 2,500 feet long, will get at least one more pass of asphalt. Lane was going to use the skid pad as a test run for the Titan paver, once fixed and tweaked.

"We have places to pave all around the track; we can attack in any direction and that's the upside," Braniff said. "A day's work is a day's work, but yes, you feel good when you get work done on the big track."

A Lane crew milled parts of the backstretch apron, or the flat asphalt next to the racing surface. Pit road has been graded and compacted and is ready for pavement when time allows. It's been a week of doing odds and ends around the track. "These are the days that pay off at the end of the job," Braniff said. "By the time we make the final pass of asphalt on the racetrack and ask, 'What else do we have to do?' Then you realize, 'Hey, we're done.' " Daytona Beach News Journal
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