The video posted by the Austin American-Statesman last Thursday, December 30, 2010, claimed that groundbreaking on the site took place and construction is underway at the track. While it’s enough to be excited about, we don’t recommend having a heart attack just yet. Rumors and misunderstandings are floating all around the internet, some reaching as far as to say there was an official ceremony and who was in attendance, but these claims are overextended, lacking the facts.
One of the official stories, posted yesterday by Formula 1 International, included that the groundbreaking ceremony had taken place and that the construction is underway. This is only partially correct; yes, technically they "broke ground," however there was not an official "groundbreaking ceremony" to celebrate this momentous occasion. We will continue to keep our loyal fans and followers up to date on the latest news. FYI, we have reliable hints that an official ceremony will happen "early this year."
We're pleased to explain with confidence that preliminary site work has begun, marking the first stage of construction. This work is on track with Tavo Hellmunds' plans for an official construction start date before the end of 2010. Though this preliminary work is small in scale to the overall project, it does signify the track is moving ahead as discussed.
As seen in the Statesman article, tor Austin Commercial, is currently performing soil sampling on the site for testing. This is a survey to determine what equipment will be needed and what strategy will be employed to start excavation. They seem to have a pretty serious resume as well, working on AMD's new campus in Austin and the UT Football Stadium's North End Zone renovation.
The other major operation right now is the relocation of the natural gas line that runs through the site. If you recall, movement of the gas line was a concern in the permitting process and was a possible risk that needed to be mitigated. On December 14, 2010, thanks to the overwhelming support of fans around the world, this approval was passed by the Travis County Commissioners. Back in November, our loyal followers crashed the Austin City Council's streaming video server largely due to Kerri’s work to mobilize fans via twitter (whoops! :). We are not aware of how far along this portion of the pipeline relocation work is, but we hope that this will move smoothly and formal excavation can begin right away!
Though nothing is actually being constructed, we recognize this is great milestone for F1US and supporters of the track. Stay tuned as the news unfolds; we will continue to deliver reliable and consistent content to our readers and we look forward to your feedback.
Note: all images in this post are by Jay Janner, staff photographer at the Austin American-Statesman. Check out his awesome photos at his website.