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Talladega Superspeedway Infield Tunnel

Talladega, Alabama

Vehicular Tunnel

Engineer:

Krebs Engineering, Inc.

Contractor:

Taylor Corporation

Installation:

January 22-24, 2019

Technical Description:

• CON/SPAN® B-Series Bridge System
• Span: 28’
• Rise: 11'
• Length: 204’

Talladega Superspeedway is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new facelift. The $50 million infield redevelopment project, dubbed "Transformation," includes "new attractions and enhanced amenities for fans, sponsors, teams and stakeholders." Phase One focused on a new two-lane tunnel running underneath the race track and providing enough clearance for two RVs or two car haulers to move through the tunnel simultaneously. Previously, oversized vehicles could only enter or exit the infield when the track was not in use causing fans to be "trapped" in the infield until the races had ended. With construction of the new tunnel completed, fans will now have 24-hour access to and from the infield during race weekends. 

“Before we took the track out, we took a laser scan image—over a million shots of the track," stated Lance Taylor, the President of Taylor Corporation. "We built a computer image of exactly what was there so when we backfilled the tunnel, we knew the specifications to eliminate the settlement that can cause dips. When these guys are running across it at 200 miles per hour, we don’t want them to feel anything.”

A 28' x 16' CON/SPAN® B-Series Bridge System, 208' in length, was selected as the best option for the tunnel for its ability to provide vehicular access for large 18'-wheeler car haulers and motorhomes and its quick installation. This tunnel required vertical curves in order to get the vehicles under the track and then back up to the approach drive and infield elevations. Due to the slope of the tunnel, a special pump system was installed to keep it from being flooded by groundwater.

“Having this incredibly large two-lane tunnel will allow fans to go and come with ease in their RVs, which will in turn make their experience here at Talladega the best it can be,” added Russell Branham, Talladega’s public relations director. “The fan experience is something that we have made a priority over the years. The tunnel is the first part of Transformation to be able to get those fans in and out in a timely manner.”

It was imperative that this project be completed on schedule in between the last fall race of 2018 and the April race in 2019. Since there was plenty of room at the track, the 35 precast arch units were stored on site. About a week before installation, the units began arriving on site and installation started on the morning of January 22. On the first day, 19 of the 35 arches were installed but, due to rain and high winds, the contractor was unable to set any arches the following day. Installation resumed on January 24, and the remaining 16 pieces were installed by 1:15 pm.

Despite large amounts of rainfall received since the groundbreaking October 2018, the tunnel was completed on schedule, and the speedway celebrated its grand reopening on April 24 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Talladega Superspeedway's Chairman Grant Lynch, along with drivers Chase Briscoe and Jeffrey Earnhardt, assisted in the ribbon cutting before driving through the new tunnel to the infield where they greeted incoming fans. 

"This is a historic day at Talladega Superspeedway,” said Lynch. “The new oversized tunnel will serve both our competitors and our fans. Traffic flow will be greatly improved, enhancing the race weekend for our fans.

Phase Two began in early May and will include a VIP "Talladega Garage Experience" in the infield. Among other perks, fans will have access to NASCAR’s top drivers and crews, an Open Air Social Club featuring a bar, a Watch Zone featuring a 40' x 80' video board, a Kids Zone as well as enhanced concession stands, restroom complexes and guest services. This new experience is expected to open in October 2019.

Technical Description:

• CON/SPAN® B-Series Bridge System
• Span: 28’
• Rise: 11'
• Length: 204’

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