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Speedway on Schedule to Finish in 2016

Known as Daytona Rising, the three-year project will be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Daytona 500.

Tue October 14, 2014 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

The $400 million redevelopment of the Daytona International Speedway is moving along nicely towards its January 2016 completion date. Known as Daytona Rising, the three-year project will be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Daytona 500.

According to the project’s Web site, the redevelopment involves five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” designed to lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels. Each level features spacious social areas, or “neighborhoods,” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.

At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms, and three times as many concession stands. In addition, the Speedway will feature more than 60 luxury suites with track side views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.

Toyota recently became the first founding partner of the project. Barton Malow of Orlando, Fla., is the design-builder of the project, and architectural design and planning firm Rossetti serves as the design partner.

Recently, the main focus has been getting the 20,000 tons (18,143.7 t) of steel for the main structure and stairs in place, according to Len Moser, Barton Malow’s vice president.

“Our focus in terms of schedule and everything has been getting that steel in place,” Moser said. “We’ve had probably 12 to 15 cranes on site at one time, and we’ll be finishing up sometime in October. Basically, what we’re doing is building behind the existing grandstands, and then we’re removing the existing Sprint Tower, which is where the suites are and the race operations — that whole building that exists up there today, after the 2015 Daytona 500 in February, we’ll demolish that in total in large pieces. We’ll demo that whole tower and rebuild it in place — bigger, stronger and faster, if you will — before 2016 Budweiser Speedweeks. So we’ve got about nine months of demolish and construct, and that will then house the new suites and race operations — all the hospitality functions.”

Moser explained that the structures will be approximately 1,540 ft. (469.4 m) high at the maximum. They will be about the same height as the existing Sprint Tower, but will be longer on each end. The largest trusses span about 30 ft. (9.1 m), and some of the anchor bolts are 7 ft. (2.1 m) long and 2.25 in. (5.7 cm) in diameter.

“When you get an assembly of those bolts together — a few thousand pounds of just anchor bolts — it’s quite an undertaking to get those set,” Moser said.

A large majority of the steel is galvanized. The steel was fabricated fab shops in Georgia and Alabama, and most of it was galvanized just south of Atlanta.

Moser noted that a marshalling yard known as Lot 10 was used for bringing steel to the cranes for erection. Substantial cranes were needed, more for height and reach than for weight, because everything is being done from the back of the stands.

“We have to go up over that 1,450 feet and then out — we can’t be on the track, so it’s mainly about height and reach,” Moser said. “The longest reach on a crane was 200 feet.”

He noted that a challenge that they knew they would have going into the project was working around the races.

“There’s no postponing the race or racing somewhere else — the Daytona 500 must go on, plus another six or seven events, too,” Moser said. “So I think a significant challenge was and is — we’ve been through two major races now — working around maintaining the operation of the facility while we’re building. We’ve done a lot of what’s called Race Ready preparation, putting in temporary gates and temporary ticketing, pedestrian walkways that are just for the race week or two weeks, depending on the event. So 30 to 60 days out from the race, we’re doing those temporary provisions. The construction slows down considerably, and then you have the race. We work with the Speedway, they put the race on, and within a few days after the race, we’re demobilizing those activities and starting back our construction.”

The upcoming Budweiser Speedweeks (in 2015) will be the first time any new grandstand seating is used, and 40,000 new seats will be available at that time. For this area, 2,500 auger cast piles were installed, which were roughly 30 to 40 ft. (9.1 to 12.1 m) deep and 18 in. (45.7 cm) in diameter. Three different rigs were onsite for this work in order to meet the schedule. This work was done by H.J. Foundation.

At its peak, Moser reported that the project will involve about 700 workers on site. Earlier in the summer, 400 to 500 workers were involved.

Zev Cohen is the local civil engineer who designed all the underground for the project. Subcontractors include P & S Paving, H.J. Foundations, and Steel Fab and many other local companies.

“I think our biggest challenge in the steel erection was just coordination with the airport and the FAA requirements, because we’re so close, and it’s not just the airport there — we’ve got the flight school, so you’ve got student pilots that are doing touch and go’s all day, and we’ve got 10 or 12 sticks in the air that hadn’t been there before.”

From a technology standpoint, Moser noted that one thing they have been doing on this project is tracking both manpower and equipment with RFID tags.

“Anything or anyone that comes onsite goes through a scanner or a bar code reader, so we’re able to know exactly who and what is on site,” Moser said. “That’s really helping us with our planning and with our projecting where we’re going to be based on the number of workers and the number of pieces of equipment. We’re just really exploring how to use that technology. It’s been around — people have had badges with barcodes, but we’re learning how to use it on the site to make us more efficient.”

After one year of work in July, the project had included the delivery of more than 950 prefabricated metal stud wall panels, the installation of 1,000 sq. ft. (92.9 sq m) of exterior metal panels, the placement of 18,700 cu. yds. (14, 297 cu m) of concrete, the installation of 1,820 new steps, the installation of 18 of 40 elevators, more than 412,000 sq. ft. (38,276 sq m) of slab-on-metal deck pours, the fabrication of 84 percent of the structural steel (the same amount as all of the steel at AT&T Stadium in Texas), the laying of more than 176,000 masonry units, and a total of 639,000 man hours.

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