MONTEREY COUNTY — The new Start/Finish bridge that connects parking and hospitality areas with the race paddock was placed into position April 7, signaling a visual progression of improvements underway at the 66-year-old WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas.
Granite Construction’s enormous 350-ton All Terrain Crane hoisted the 160-foot, 71-ton main span section and accompanying 20-ton approach span to the cheers of onlooking Monterey County elected officials and staff, Granite Construction management, local media and the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca team.
“The new bridge at Laguna Seca is a long overdue investment,” said Luis Alejo, chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. “This shows a true commitment by the Board of Supervisors to properly maintain our world-renowned race track so that we continue to attract premier racing events and tourism to Monterey County and our entire region.”
Five months since the project was approved by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, the final section of the new pedestrian/cart bridge was delicately placed after extensive preparation work. The multimillion-dollar project, which began November 2022, fell behind schedule due to the near-record rainfall, erosion and flooding.
But through the continuing support of the Board of Supervisors, County staff and Granite Construction, the project accelerated with double shifts to be ready in time to host the first two events of the season: Trans Am SpeedFest on May 5-7 and the Motul Course de Monterey, powered by Hyundai N, which will be broadcast live on the NBC Network on May 12-14.
The track will close again May 16 to begin the full track resurfacing. The entire project will be fully completed, cured and ready for America’s premier motorcycle series, MotoAmerica Superbike SpeedFest on July 7-9.
“Only shadowed by the renowned Corkscrew and famous Andretti Hairpin, the Laguna Seca Start/Finish Bridge is a preeminent feature of the Laguna Seca Raceway,” said Bryan Flores, chief of parks with Public Works, Facilities and Parks for the County of Monterey. “The replacement of the aged wooden bridge will serve to provide a safe and efficient path of travel for our visitors and spectators from around the globe. Without the support by the County of Monterey Board of Supervisors, this project would never have come to fruition and for that, the world racing community is sincerely grateful.”
This project is the largest improvement development at the iconic race track since the Hospitality Pavilion was built in 2006, and the last repaving in 2007.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the significant improvements being made to the Laguna Seca track and facilities,” commented Jim Hovde, project manager for Granite Construction. “It was clear from the start that this was a schedule driven project and we would need to perform flawlessly in order to complete the project on time. Enter the winter of 2022-23, and the increased challenges caused by working between seemingly endless rain events, yet we have continued to set milestones and celebrate our accomplishments one day at a time. The tireless efforts of the entire project team add to the rich history of this historic track and its legacy.”
According to John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, “It is difficult to adequately express how thankful we are of the support from the Supervisors and County staff to persevere with this project after facing unprecedented Monterey County weather-related emergencies over the last three months. Their confidence in the Laguna Seca Recreation Area and its positive economic impact on the region’s businesses strengthens the importance this facility makes within our incredible destination.”
Visit WeatherTechRaceway.com for more information.