Organisers of the 2012 US grand prix are expected to shortly receive permission to start digging work at the Austin site.
On New Year’s Eve, it emerged that work commenced in the form of silt fencing, soil drilling for samples and the staking out of the circuit layout.
But this work took place with the organisers only having conditional planning permission, with the Austin American Statesman reporting that the next big step is now set to imminently happen.
The report said promoters have paid $900,000 for the application, and a county spokeswoman confirmed that the permit should be printed some time this week.
The promoters’ lawyer Richard Suttle denied suggestions the target of starting work before 2011 had been missed.
“‘Moving dirt’ includes getting ready for the grading,” he insisted. “We were able to accomplish a lot (in December) in getting ready.
“We may actually be a little ahead of schedule but not much,” he added.
The $900,000 is said to cover the cost of restoring the land to its original condition should the Federal Emergency Management Agency reject ultimate permission.
And further permits will have to be issued before actual building construction can take place, with one outstanding issue being who will pay $6m for local road improvements.
© RIF | GMM