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Bitumen barrier cuts speedway spray risk

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CONTRACTORS AT Rockingham Motor Speedway are this week monitoring asphalt performance following fast-track resurfacing works to eliminate surface water on the track.

Contractors resurfaced the circuit with a sprayed bitumen emulsion in a bid to prevent rainwater causing a repeat of the disruption seen at last September's inaugural British leg of the US Champ car series. (NCE 27 September 2001).

Embarrassed race organisers were forced to cancel the first two days of the CART Fedex Championship series race after water on the track made it impossible for drivers to race at their full 350km/h speed.

The track was designed and built by Morrison with surfacing specialist Colas designing and laying the pavement on the 2.4km banked oval circuit.

An open-texture asphalt was chosen to cut spray, but it is thought that cold and still conditions after heavy rainfall two weeks before the race slowed the drying process.

It was only possible to start the race after Morrison sunk 60, 5m deep boreholes to drain water through a 230mm thick layer of cementitious lime stabilised clay and the heavily surcharged clay embankments.

When water continued to appear on the circuit over the winter, RMS brought in consultant Weeks Pavements to devise a permanent solution.

Weeks decided to lay a new wearing course to a higher specification over a sprayed bitumen emulsion sealing coat, to act as a total barrier to rainwater.

The remedial works were agreed with Morrison and carried out between 23 and 30 April, in time for the first major race meeting of the season on 5 May.

The works appear to have eliminated the problem, but Morrison continues to monitor the circuit on a daily basis.

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