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F1 circuit paving begins on Strip; public money contribution not yet known

Updated April 17, 2023 - 10:47 am

Roadwork associated with paving efforts for the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix is underway on the Strip as work continues to determine what, if any, public money is used on the project.

Initial paving efforts moved from Sands Avenue and onto Las Vegas Boulevard between Spring Mountain Road and Siren’s Cove near Treasure Island. That portion of the repaving work is slated to run through 9 a.m. Friday.

Lanes will be reduced along the stretch, leading to traffic congestion in the area, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada announced last week in an email alert.

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority, said the paving operations have been moving smoothly since they kicked off earlier this month.

“Where that construction is taking place it is a little disruptive, but it’s moving pretty quickly,” Hill said. “So, you have to put up with it wherever you are for a week or two and it moves on down the road. It will happen pretty fast and if you didn’t know it was paving for Formula One, you would think it’s the paving we do on a pretty normal basis anyway. It’s real progress that is being made and we’re excited to see it happen.”

Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson said the usual congestion related to reducing lanes on a roadway should be expected. He noted that work was already in the plans to repave the Strip, as part of a yearslong upgrade project.

“It was already planned to redo infrastructure underneath the roadway and to repave the entire Las Vegas Boulevard (in the Resort Corridor),” Gibson told the Review-Journal. “Those are impacts that would have occurred in any case.”

The repaving work is only occurring on the southbound lanes of the Strip. That work was fast-tracked to be race ready, Gibson said, noting that means crews will need to repave the northbound lanes at a later date.

Although it will cause some traffic headaches, Gibson said it’s important because the inaugural race is just 215 days away.

“It’s exciting because we’re there,” Gibson said. “We are now seeing the real work, in terms of here at the paddock building and in terms of the raceway.”

Paving work will continue south down the Strip through May 19, before the focus shifts to Harmon on May 22-May 26 and then to Koval Lane from June 11-June 16. The F1 paddock site and MSG Sphere sections of paving will occur between June 19 and June 30 and Aug. 21 and Aug. 25, respectively.

The final round of paving to ready the circuit ahead of the inaugural race is set to occur on all of the same sections of roads between July 16 and Sept. 15.

Although the work is well underway, Clark County officials and Formula One are still discussing how much public funding will go toward the project.

“They estimated the cost to be $37 (million)-$38 million, and we are having conversations with them now,” Gibson said. “There will be some avoided costs that we should pay, and we will do that. We’re working on that, and I’ve never met with a team that was easier to work with.”

Formula One CEO Stefano Domencali declined to discuss the financial details of the roadwork, but noted the project will lead to the major event that is the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“We are organizing and preparing everything and the community will benefit from it,” Domencali said. “I mean, there’s roadwork all around the world and that’s part of the game. We’re going to do it for something special and we’re going to have a unique situation here. We’re going to upgrade the quality of services here, and people should be happy.”

Any time public money is used for any type of sports deal, it leads many Southern Nevadans to raise an eyebrow. Gibson is aware of the public sentiment, but he noted whatever money ends up being put toward the track paving will be a solid investment. The Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend is projected to be over a $1 billion dollar weekend, in terms of revenue generation, which could be the most lucrative weekend in the city’s history.

“This event is a partnership that is going to endure for a long time, we believe, (and) is so worth whatever we do,” Gibson said.

That said, Gibson noted that the partnership is cognizant of the stakes involved.

“So, we’re all going to work together and we’re going to have the right kind of agreement that will reflect the partnership that we currently have, and we have a good one,” he said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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