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DATE News (chronologically)
11/19/11
f1
Texas Road widening in limbo amid F1 uncertainty  The uncertainty of Formula One racing in Austin has thrown into limbo plans to widen two-lane Elroy Road on the north side of the F1 property.

Richard Suttle, a lawyer with Circuit of the Americas, had been in discussion over the past few months with Travis County, which owns Elroy Road, and the two sides had verbally agreed to expand the road from two lanes to four.

The race organizers had said they would split the estimated $5 million cost down the middle.

County officials said this week that staffers had done some preliminary work on widening to four lanes about three-quarters of a mile of the road, but they couldn't say how many hours had been devoted to the project.

Travis County has not hired a consultant, or a design or engineering firm for the work, said Steve Manilla, the county executive for transportation and natural resources.

The county, based on the road's poor condition, had already scheduled it for a major rehabilitation next year that would have cost about $2.5 million, but that work will not involve widening the road, nor building a new bridge over Dry Creek, Manilla said.

"It absolutely is in wait-and-see mode," Manilla said of the widening project.

Meanwhile, the City of Austin is building an electric substation on the F1 property but has spent no money on the water and sewer lines that would serve the racetrack, officials said.

Austin Energy had been planning to build a two-transformer substation in the nearby Stoney Ridge subdivision. Then, Circuit of the Americas officials asked Austin Energy to split that substation into two pieces with one of the transformers on the F1 site.

In exchange for this, Circuit of the Americas paid a little more than half of the $3 million cost of the transformer on the F1 site, Austin Energy spokesman Carlos Cordova said.

The transformer on F1 property will serve the surrounding area regardless of whether F1 runs a race there, Cordova said.

He added that Circuit of the Americas also gave Austin Energy a deposit that the utility can keep if the facility does not use a predetermined amount of electricity. The size of the deposit is confidential, Cordova said.

Under an agreement with the city, local F1 backers were to design and pay for the water and sewer lines serving the racetrack, then send the bill to the city for reimbursement.

City spokesman Kyle Carvell said F1 has not asked for the money. The Statesman

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