With six weeks left until the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, crews are in overdrive readying the race circuit.
Between now and race weekend — which is Nov. 16-18 — the final paving, temporary bridge construction, barrier and lighting installation, and advertisement placing will be completed along the 3.8-mile track.
Las Vegas Grand Prix officials are working with 25 Clark County departments and 35 business owners within the track’s area to ensure that the final stretch of work proceeds as smoothly as possible.
“There’s a lot more people engaged with this than just the LVGP team,” said Terry Miller of Miller Project Management, who is leading the infrastructure work for the race. “This is very much a valleywide project.”
As work continues on the spectator zone being built over the Fountains of Bellagio, two lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard southbound between Flamingo Road and Bellagio Drive will be closed until the race concludes. The sidewalk in front of the Bellagio on Las Vegas Boulevard also is closed during that stretch.
This week will see the final race surface paving taking place on Koval Lane between Rochelle Avenue and Westchester Drive.
“It’s the final major track area we’re working on,” Miller said Tuesday during a presentation to the Clark County Commission. “We will be working on in a couple weeks the intersection at Harmon and Koval, but this is the final major portion of racetrack surface.”
As part of that work, Koval will see alternating lane closures between Rochelle and Westchester from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Wednesday. Koval southbound will be closed to traffic between Rochelle and Westchester between 1 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday. Traffic will be reduced to one lane during that time.
The biggest traffic disruption also will take place on Thursday, with the intersection of Koval and Flamingo Road scheduled to be closed between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Lighting will be installed this week between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. through Friday on Sands Avenue between Las Vegas Boulevard and Koval. Rolling lane closures will take place during those work hours.
Also scheduled to take place on Friday is lighting installation on Las Vegas Boulevard southbound between Bellagio and Harmon Avenue. Rolling lane closures and lane reductions will take place from midnight until 9 a.m. on Friday on the stretch of the Strip.
The intersection of Harmon and Audrie Street will be closed from 9 p.m. until 8 a.m. daily through Friday for the installation of a temporary vehicular bridge.
Next week, the bulk of the work affecting motorists will involve track lighting installation on multiple stretches of road. The work is expected to take place between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily next week on Harmon between Las Vegas Boulevard and Koval; on Koval between the Formula One pit structure and the Sphere; and on a small stretch of Sands near the Las Vegas Boulevard intersection.
Crews are taking into account the fact that the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) will take place Oct. 9-12 at the Venetian Expo and not conducting roadwork during the day on Sands during the show, which attracted 25,000 attendees last year.
“We adjusted our schedule so that on the week of Oct. 8 that we aren’t offending the traffic situation for the G2E conference that’s coming up,” Miller said. “We were planning on putting track barriers on the road on Sands. We’ve now moved that an additional week so that we can accommodate what will happen at G2E.”
The week of Oct. 15 will see track barrier installation on Sands between the Sphere and the Strip and lighting installation on Harmon between Las Vegas Boulevard and Koval.
“Now we’re going to start to transform the streets into what we call the cold track,” Miller said. “You’ll see the barriers and be able to drive past the barriers that will in fact be the racing circuit.”
The construction of the Flamingo bridge over Koval also will take place the week of Oct. 15, with a five-day closure of the intersection planned during the week.
Plans for the week of Oct. 29 include beginning to set up advertisements that will line portions of the track and installing barriers on Sands.
“By the time we get to the first week of November, we’ll pretty much be done with the setup of the track on the public roadways,” Miller said.
After the race is over and the streets are back to normal, Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick wants the Las Vegas Grand Prix team to come back and give the commission a post-event wrap-up and identify anything that can be done to ensure that the setup of the race in future years has less effect on area roads and motorists.
“If this becomes a long-term thing, I don’t want to have to do the bridges every single time. Maybe that’s something you look at (making) more permanent,” Kirkpatrick said. “The first year’s the messiest — that’s what you all have been telling me — so the second year won’t be tolerated to be messy.”