As F1 paving halts traffic on Las Vegas Strip, crews update progress

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 11:46 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The third and final U.S. race on the Formula 1 calendar speeds into Las Vegas on November 18. Before that can happen though, every road along the massive street circuit will have to be repaved.

Right now, that means extensive road work through the heart of the Strip. Crews will be paving on Las Vegas Blvd. from Sands to Harmon through May 19. This week, most of the road between Caesars Palace and The Flamingo is shut down. Only two lanes are open, with the rest being paved for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“It’s going to mean great things to this city,” Jordan Schlipf, a paving specialist at Empire Caterpillar, which is providing much of the equipment for pavers, said of the upcoming event. “It’s going to be something new, something different.”

In the meantime, though, traffic on parts of the Strip has all but ground to a halt.

“We’re doing it slow,” Zeenath Haniff, marketing communications specialist for Empire Caterpillar said Tuesday. “The reason why we’re doing it slow is to meet the requirements put forth by Formula 1.”

Haniff says the operation is using some new technology.

“Some of the 2D technology and thermal mapping really help us to keep track of every inch that’s being poured,” she explained.

That tech is important for a project as big as intricate as this. It’s making for a longer paving process, but it’s a necessary evil.

That’s because F1 cars ride extremely low, and uneven surfaces can prove dangerous when they reach breakneck speeds over 200 mph.

“If everything goes well with this one, the maintenance won’t take as much time,” Haniff said. “Because this is laying down two base layers that won’t need to happen the next couple of years as we do maintenance.”

Officials with the Las Vegas Grand Prix tell FOX5 we should not expect a repave every year -- just normal maintenance. They say they will evaluate after the first race and look at any changes as needed.

For this time-consuming stage of the project, though, Schlipf says they’re trying to keep things open as much as possible. He and the rest of the crews will be working well into the summer.

“If it’s 100, 110, 120 (degrees), we’ll pave,” Schlipf said.

This week marks one month since crews have been paving on the Strip. After finishing on May 19, crews will take a break over EDC weekend when hundreds of thousands will be in town. Work will start up again on Harmon afterward.