WILLOWBANK Raceway’s major revamp is well into the construction phase after the track was closed to allow the project to start just over a month ago.
It’s a massive undertaking for the Willowbank team to drive the work needed and a senior project manager and town planner were commissioned to help.
Willowbank’s Harry Rowsell’s update on the project said they were working to a reopening date in November, but the magnitude of the work meant he couldn’t guarantee they would meet that deadline.
“In all honesty, I can’t answer when we will go racing again, it is too early,” he reported.
“There are still so many factors in play here; the one thing for certain is that we will never compromise on anything that could place any of the work package warranties at risk, therefore we will be guided by those rolling out the project and will advise accordingly.”
His lengthy member’s report provided the following updates:
Track and drainage work
A week prior to the racing surface and braking area being pulled up, the entire surface, water box to gravel trap, and wall to wall was electronically surveyed to determine surface flatness and to identify any other unknown anomalies that that could affect the finished product.
The next few weeks for the project team will be bedlam, in that until all excavations are complete it will only then be known what the full picture is to what lays below the surface.
The drainage specification and design for the new track is based on a one in 20 year rain event.
Ablution block and rainwater harvesting:
To date works are all but complete on our current ablution blocks with underground plumbing investigations, cistern replacements, vermin proofing, sensor lighting and other beautification initiatives completed.
Orders and deposits have been placed for the new toilets, showers, and persons with disabilities (PWD) ablution units.
These units will be placed across the venue allowing better access for both race teams and spectators.
Our average Urban Utilities water rates bill per quarter hovers around the $6-8k mark.
Part of this work package also involves rainwater retention, that once harvested will be diverted to toilet cisterns and general venue use.
Rainwater tanks are now in place at various locations across the raceway and connection to the various roof downpipes are being connected.
Once finished we will have a harvest capacity 300,000 litres of water, which will go a long way to reduce the eye watering bill we get each quarter.
The lighting and infrastructure placement design is complete with the contract to undertake works signed.
Again, significant changes had to be made to the current lighting and electrical system for the new design to be compliant.
All current lighting aimed at the racing surface and braking area will be replaced with the latest efficient lighting hardware.
New lighting will continue some way up the return road.
The design of the new lighting will eliminate the “strobing” effect that is experienced when leaving the racing surface going into the braking area.