USGP site gets green light to begin work; traffic issues remain

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With the United States Grand Prix’s biggest challenge perhaps being simply time, organizers for the 2012 race on Tuesday got the OK to begin construction work outside Austin, Texas by as early as the next few weeks.

That’s critical, as even a few more weeks dithering could have been disastrous.

Here’s more from the Austin American-Statesman:

Because portions of the 900-acre site lie within a flood plain, grading work normally requires review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency before dirt can be moved. The agency typically takes as long as six months to weigh in.
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The variance, which passed on a 4-1 vote at the recommendation of county planners, allows track developers to proceed before the county receives FEMA’s comments. County officials said they anticipate no significant objections from FEMA.
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The approval represented the biggest hurdle remaining in Formula One United States Grand Prix’s grading permit application, which, according to county planners, could receive final approval within weeks.

The vote was by Travis County commissioners.

There still is a significant issue up in the air:

County planners have said the facility will require road improvements costing more than $6 million — a bill they say F1 should pay. When asked about that at the meeting, attorney Richard Suttle, who is representing the organizers, said they would be discussing the issue with county officials.

You might recall there have been estimates it could take 12 hours for fans to leave the grand prix. I like Negative Camber and Grace well enough, but 12 hours with them in the F1B micro bus? I’m not too sure about that.

The good news is the track construction is moving along. While far from ahead of schedule, the work is moving along well enough to be completed in time for a June 2012 race.

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