27 February 2012
Austin's nocturnal activity raises concerns
Nocturnal activity at the Circuit of the Americas has raised the ire of local residents.
The beleaguered USGP project in Texas continues to make headlines for good and bad reasons, but also appears to be pushing ahead with development at the Circuit of the Americas site in order to achieve its aim of being ready by the end of the summer.
While the project continues to attract much needed investment, it has also been on the receiving end of criticism from local residents, who complain that the ongoing construction is causing a disturbance. At the heart of the unrest appears to be the extension of work into the night in order to hasten the schedule along after delays earlier in the programme, with the addition of powerful floodlights illuminating not only the circuit, but also the surrounding area.
The 3.4-mile circuit, estimated to be costing around $300m, is currently receiving the second phase of its three-story paddock and garage area, which is divided into six zones. Construction on the first three zones began last year.
"There's about ten or twelve of these lights, [and] everything is illuminated on the west side of my house," Don Haywood, whose property overlooks the track and whom CotA is suing over a disputed water line, told the local Austin American Statesman newspaper, before adding that there could be as many as '20 to 25 trucks just lined up, gravel trucks' lined up as part of the construction effort.
Travis County residents, who plan to meet with county commissioners and officials to discuss their concerns over the nocturnal activities, believe that construction is running late because recent heavy rains added to the earlier delays caused by financial wrangling, but track officials maintain that the venue is on schedule to host the USGP in November.
On a more positive note, funding for the circuit has now reached almost $200m, receiving $90m from 17 unnamed lenders in addition to the $94.3m raised by COTA Racing & Entertainment from 24 investors. The latest proceeds will be used for 'general capital working purposes', according to an SEC filing, with nothing going to pay the circuit's executive officers, directors or promoters.
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