Things have changed quite a bit at the track in just the last few weeks as grading of the southern portion of the track is underway. This is starting to turn out to be a pretty exciting time right now as the site is really starting to change from the original landscape. I took a drive out to the site this afternoon and snapped some pics and threw together a quick diagram to show our audience what is happening where (images), so they can get a feel for what's going on out here in Austin.
The construction entrance to the facilities, Caterpillar in the backgroundThe main portion of the work is concentrated on the southern edge of the site, just south of where the proposed main grandstands will be located. This is where a welcome center and parking will be, just above the main entrance for the entire complex off of Highway 812. As of today, this area is being graded by heavy equipment (i.e. leveling the dirt to the desired angle for drainage and construction) and the construction crews are settling in, setting up temporary offices and other facilities.Heavy Machines moving dirt and leveling for construction
There were probably 20 heavy machines moving during the late afternoon, moving dirt from other locations and compacting land where new dirt is added. There were additional crews on site, including surveyors and engineers, as well as a small crew working on the north-western perimeter. It's pretty apparent that things are moving along at a fast pace, and the landscape is quickly turning into a construction site day by day.
We know that you will be excited to see our images from today, go to the gallery to see more...
A view from the southeast corner, looking northwest across the site towards downtown Austin
On Friday, November 13, I hopped on yet another friendly Southwest Air flight from Chicago to Austin, but first made a few stops in Kansas City and Dallas. This time the stops were welcomed because they allowed me to change seats (while waiting on new passengers to board the plane) and grill my Pilot on how we would be flying into Austin. I texted Kevin to find out exactly where the future F1US site was located geographically in relation to the airport. He quickly responded and then I pulled the pilot aside for a rather abnormal question:
“So, I have a really technical question. Say I wanted to look out the window on our descent into Austin and see a parcel of land located about a mile and a half southeast of the airport. What side of the plane should I be sitting on?” <insert smile and charm>
The pilot thought for about 2.5 seconds and then responded, very matter-of-factly, yet somewhat puzzled, “On the right side.”
I thanked him and took my seat in 1F – the window seat on the right side of the plane. When we were taking off from Dallas we passed over the oldDallas Cowboys football stadium – the one that has a retractable roof. Legend has it that Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys team owner) wanted the roof to open so that "God could watch his team play."
Cowboy's Stadium in Dallas, by HKS ArchitectsThat’s how American football works in Texas – kids start playing at age 9 and don’t stop until college or later if they’re lucky.
It’s interesting to note that HKS Architects designed the new Cowboys stadium and they’re the architects joining Herman Tilkke for design of the Austin track and site.
Here is a promo video of the new Cowboys stadium. Although it is really poor quality, you can start to get a feel for HKS Architect's work. How do you think they will incorporate their work with Hermann Tilke?
(IMHO HKS has a better high quality flash video on their company website: HKS Sports)
Though about 200 miles south of Dallas, the flight to Austin Downtown Austin from above Elroy, TXis a quick one, and about thirty five minutes later we were making our descent into Austin Bergstrom International Airport. We swung out to the southeast and then made a sharp hairpin turn to enter the airport headed north. My seat on the right side of the plane allowed me to look out the window, an east-facig view, and setup for the perfect shot of the site and future track location; a view no one has shared with fans until now. I was so excited about the idea of getting a closer look that I started snapping pictures as we got closer to the airport and to my surprise, the flight path gave me a perfect view of the site. It's safe to say that future passengers flying into Austin from the south will pass above the track and have a perfect view of this new Austin icon. Pretty cool, eh?
The following diagram shows the flight path we took while approaching Austin and the direction of my camera for each of the track site images. In total, four of the images I took give a perfect view of the site and should help you understand the terrain and location a bit better (more images in the Gallery).
Austin City Council voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve agenda items #2 and 3, as they pertain to the funding surrounding water & wastewater services in Elroy, Texas, the future home of The Formula One United States Grand Prix (TM). Recap and transcript to follow. Here is a pic of our Co-Founder, Kevin Olsen, voicing his support:
A special shout-out to our twitter friends who rode out the technology bumps along the way!
And last but certainly not least, Mayor Pro-tem, Austin City Council Mike Martinez - @MPTMike
Update on 2010-11-19 18:08 by Kerri Olsen
Austin City Council is on top of things! In less than 24 hours they've shared the uninterrupted broadcast of yesterday's City Council Meeting in its entirety.
So, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell introduced Items 2 & 3, "And now, Council, we'll go back to consider F2 and F3..." ;)
Like what you see? Wish your City Council was so on top of things? Why don't you let Austin know how great of a job they're doing and how excited you are about their support and the future home of Formula One racing in the United States!
Contact Austin City Council here (council members directly) or here (web contact form).
Please join the "Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas" group on LinkedIn, which is located here. Here is the latest post regarding the Water and Wastewater Commission meeting today:
Group: Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas
Subject: **IF YOU SUPPORT FORMULA 1 AND ARE READING THIS PLEASE TAKE ACTION**
The Formula 1 folks will be attending a Meeting tomorrow and we need to send a message to the Water and Wastewater Commission requesting approval for the project. Please cut / paste / modify to your liking, the below message and email to the... following addresses and sign your name after the "Thank you" line.
The Water and Wastewater Commission are voting on an item related to wastewater services at the Formula 1 site at their meeting tomorrow, November 10. We would really appreciate if you show your support via email. Thanks again for all of your help and support!
As a strong advocate for bringing Formula 1 racing to Austin, Texas, I encourage you to support item #15 which would provide wastewater services for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix and the surrounding community. Improvements to wastewater service in this part of the City’s extra-territorial jurisdiction are much needed and well-deserved. The Formula 1 project is the catalyst we need to spur infrastructure improvements in the City’s desired development zone, and supporting this item on today’s agenda will bring this project a step further to becoming a reality.
Supporter of the Formula 1 United States Grand PrixTM in Austin, Texas
Update on 2010-11-11 04:17 by Kerri Olsen
THANK YOU AGAIN! KXAN is reporting "the Water and Wastewater Commissioner's granted approval Wednesday night for Formula One developers to construct water and wastewater transmission lines for the future race track in Elroy." More here.
The Environmental Board is meeting tonight in Austin and they need to hear from Formula One supporters. Please send the message below (or your personalization) to the board members:
TO: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBJECT: Environmental Board Hearing on F1 Track
Dear Members of the Environmental Board,
Please support the cut and fill variances, along with the construction on slopes variance, under consideration at today’s public hearing. As a strong advocate for bringing Formula 1 racing to Austin, Texas, I encourage you to support what city staff has recommended. The granting of these variances will help make this project a reality. The area under consideration will no doubt be put to better use with the construction of a race track, as opposed to the original plan of an 1,800 lot subdivision. The track will allow for less overall traffic, and less carbon emissions, than if it were turned into a subdivision. Again, I hope that you will support the variances under consideration at today’s public hearing.
Supporter of the Formula 1 United States Grand PrixTM in Austin, Texas
Update on 2010-11-10 16:31 by Kerri Olsen
THANK YOU for responding to the call to action! The Austin Environmental Board unanimously approved the site and now we are gearing up for the next round of approvals. Many thanks!