Singapore GP news 2009-08-18

THE BIG BUILD Preparations for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX are now well underway. Work on the construction of the revised Pit Lane Entry and Pit Lane Exit is now complete, along with more than 60% of the installation of ...


Preparations for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX are now well underway. Work on the construction of the revised Pit Lane Entry and Pit Lane Exit is now complete, along with more than 60% of the installation of lighting structures.

The phased installation of concrete barriers and debris fencing began on 13th July, starting with the Pit Straight. The work will be carried out on a zone-by-zone basis over the next two months, in a programme designed to minimise disruption to traffic around the 5.067km/3.148 mile Marina Bay Circuit.

With the exception of a 1.2km section of the track which flanks the permanent race control garages, pit lane and starting straight, the rest of the track is converted from the city streets. The Marina Bay area houses some of the most prestigious hotels, one of the biggest shopping malls, the island state's biggest single tourist attraction, the Singapore Flyer and it borders the main commercial and government areas.

Marina Bay also divides the largely residential East of the island and the Changi International Airport from the industrial and docklands hub to the West. The East Coast Parkway, which forms the primary East-West link across the island, sweeps some 40m above the track on the four-lane Benjamin Sheares flyover. Therefore the successful traffic management around the building of track impinges upon the lives of every one of Singapore's 4.6 million inhabitants.

One of the prime considerations in the creation of the track in the Marina Bay area is that while it affords a spectacular backdrop of Singapore's city skyline, it has less effect on the major arterial road networks than other locations. While some enthusiasts would have loved to have seen the cars race down Orchard Road in the commercial heart of the city, to do so would have meant weeks of disruption to the main shopping area.

In order to minimise the disruption to traffic, the last phase of construction will be left until the week prior to the race. Commencing 20 September, the final pieces of essential race infrastructure, including more than 500 pieces of concrete barriers and debris fencing, spectator and perimeter fencing, 16 grandstands and six temporary pedestrian overhead bridges will be removed from their storage in a large warehouse facility on the East of the island and assembled on site.

The plan is that following the race, the first of these barriers will be removed again overnight, allowing a return to normal traffic flow in key areas on the Monday morning. By the Thursday, all remaining barriers will have been removed and traffic will flow normally.

In addition to the infrastructure common to all street circuits, the FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix is also unique in requiring the installation of the bespoke, state-of-the-art lighting system, required to deliver optimal visibility for night race conditions. It alone requires the installation of 108,423m of power cables, 240 steel pylons and approximately 1,600 light projectors.

In order to allow the setting-up and dismantling of the system in the quickest possible time to minimise disruption, aluminium trusses -- similar to light fittings at a rock concert are used to house light units and associated power cables. The trusses, which are 10metres high and supported by vertical steel pylons placed 32 metres apart in prefabricated concrete blocks, allow the lights to be placed 8 to 12 metres above the track offering far greater efficiency than is possible with tall football stadium-type illumination.

Each projector lamp unit, similar to the headlamp units used on high-end performance cars, consists of individual 2000 watt white metal halide lamps, installed at 4 meter intervals on the aluminium truss. The lighting projectors are placed on one side of the track only, fixed at the same side of the track as the television cameras, to reduce glare when filming the race.

The system is currently being installed by the lighting engineers from Valerio Maioli S.p.a. St Andrew's Road, Esplanade Drive and Republic Boulevard and is expected to be completed on schedule by early September. Meanwhile Singapore Land Transport Authority is on schedule to complete road works, ready to hand over the completed track to the FIA at the end of July for the mandatory circuit inspection three months before the event.

-credit: singaporeGP

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Series Formula 1