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» Track Updates
Week 10 - September 8 - 14
The last load of Polytrack has been laid, compacted and levelled, and that was at the first bend, which also had its camber raised to 5 degrees. A slight delay occurred at the start of Week 10 when the consignment of Polytrack was late. But once the remaining 800 tonnes of the precious cargo were delivered on Sept 10, of which 600 tonnes was used to lay out the last bit, the loop was all 'looped up'. Another 3000 tonnes will then come in as stockpile for future maintenance. The filling up is done, but now more machinery is needed to prepare the track to its right depth and consistency.
The next day, the first test gallops were registered on the track. Daring
Mellifont had the honour of being the first galloper to lay hoof on it, and it was not long before they came out in droves, all 38 of them. Jockeys and track riders alike all enthused about how firm and yet kind the track felt to their mounts.
All riders reported the track felt good but still needs another couple of weeks to help it settle down better as it still felt 'wavy'. As the track takes more trampling over, the right consistency should be achieved soon and it will be all systems go for its first race on October 4.
Mr Bergamo was one among a first batch of 38 horses to give the new Polytrack a test run.
A magnified shot of the Polytrack
A power harrow loosens the surface and maintains the pad depth. The roller on the back of this equipment serves to compact and control the depth of the top portion of the surface after the pad is loosened to the proper depth.
The top maker in this photo is trimming off the top of any excess Polytrack to keep the thickness uniform or to its required level throughout the track.
The Polytrack is all laid up but needs to be harrowed off to an even and levelled surface before the first gallops can go on.
The new Polytrack circuit is all completed. While it settles down, it won't be long before the first trials start.
While waiting for the last order of Polytrack, much work has been done trimming and levelling the already-laid synthetic surface. The photo shows there is only about 200m left to cover.
Week 9 - September 1 - September 7
Work on the installation of Polytrack on Track 2 is progressing smoothly. Already around 500m of the Polytrack sand mixture has been layed as the last loads of asphalt are being poured. Track manager R Jayaraju said he had hoped the asphalt works would have been completed last Sunday, but a delay in receiving the final load of aggregate put the asphalting works behind schedule. Some contamination of the aggregate occurred where the lorries have been entering the track, leaving the depression of tyre marks, meaning a 20m x 10m area needed to be redone.
Following more heavy rain last weekend (August 30/31), R Jayaraju said the Polytrack had handled the downpour beautifully. Commented Jayaraju: “After the rain I inspected where we had been laying the Polytrack sand mixture and there was no evidence of any water pooling at all”. As the sand mixture is being layed, final leveling and touching up will take place, together with the replacement of running rails, with Jayaraju hoping to have the works completed by next Monday.
Polytrack laying continues off the back straight. Around 500m of the sand mixture has been layed so far.
An overview from the end of the home straight showing the asphalt works that have been completed.
A 20m x 10m area is being replaced. Contamination occurred through tyre depression marks left by lorries entering the track at this point. The hold-up won't effect the project finishing ahead of schedule.
Week 8 - August 25 - August 31
The heavy rain that fell at the racecourse last weekend, while not welcomed on the turf track, gave an insight as to how effective the drainage is on the Polytrack surface that is being installed. More than 30mm of rain was dumped on the track last Saturday and Sunday (August 23 & 24) and following an inspection by track manager R Jayaraju there was no surface water. “It showed the drains are all working perfectly and it cleared away all the dust from the surface area,” commented Jayaraju. The works to date have seen the sub-soil drainage completed, 90% of the aggregate layed and around 40% of the asphalt put down.
The installation of Polytrack is getting closer with the first stage of the final sand mixture being layed. Around 250 metres of the Polytrack, which is a mixture of sand with synthetic fibres, some chopped rubber which is then blended together with a specialised wax, was layed over the aggregate and asphalt base on Wednesday afternoon. While final leveling is still to take place, R Jayaraju said the mixture would take time to cure and he had to make some room for more of the sand mixture that is on the way.
A lorry brings in another load of the Polytrack sand mixture
The grader helps move the Polytrack sand mixture around. Initially around 250 metres has been layed.
A peace of pipe with a red line. This shows the depth to which the sand mixture will be topped up to above the aggregate and asphalt base.
A layer of duotex tile is layed over the drain on the inside of Track no. 2. On top of this is a Sandtrapper which stops the migration of sand to the aggregate layer beneath.
A garden bed mixture is layed over the top of the Sandtrapper. A flower bed will be planted to act as a buffer should there be a fall on raceday or during trackwork.
The asphalting works continue. Around 40% of the track has been covered, waiting for the p
olytrack to be layed. Polytrack is a mixture of sand with synthetic fibres, some chopped rubber which is then blended together with a specialised wax.
The final stages of laying the aggregates and levelling them. The next stage sees the asphalt applied before the final sand mixture is added.
Week 7 - August 18 - 24
The Polytrack installation enters a crucial phase with the first pouring of the porous asphalt. Starting from the 1200m, the 15mm layer of bitumen and 20mm open grade aggregates will be laid and rolled flat down the backstraight first. Porous asphalt serves two important functions: (1) to prevent aggregates from rising up and (2) allow water to filter down to the drains.
The drainage works to the first turn after the winning post is still underway but is nearing completion very soon.
This photo shows a lorry being used to dump the asphalt onto the horse return path, as opposed to using loaders on the main proper. The reason is there are no subsoil drains under the horse return. By Day 3 (August 21) of the asphalting stage, 90 per cent of the back straight up to the 800m mark is completed. The asphalting of the whole Track 2 is expected to be completed by the first week of September.
The roller makes sure any unevenness on the freshly-poured asphalt is taken care of.
One pass of this roller (on the inside of the track) ensures the level is even and uniform. Precision during the construction stage is of utmost importance to ensure maximum drainage efficiency during heavy rainfalls.
This photo demonstrates the 15mm thick layer of asphalt that has just been poured over the compacted gravel. The blue pen in the foreground gives a better idea of the relative sizes and thicknesses.
A level is then used to smoothen out the asphalt as it rolls out from the paver.
Asphalt is poured out at temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius over the compacted gravel as that is when its workability is at its optimum. A vibrator and compactor within the paver ensures the asphalt rolls out like a carpet at the back end.
Loaders are used instead of lorries to unload the asphalt onto the paver. R Jayaraju explained we are the first to use that method to circumvent the problem of deep depressions left in by heavy lorry tyres. Hence, the compacted gravel remains even and flat throughout the asphalting process. This photo shows the asphalt being dumped into the paver.
The gravel must be compacted to the desired level (right) before the paver (left) comes in and pours the hot asphalt over. We certainly got the best of the asphalt pavers for the job – the one used for the upcoming Formula One race! Track manager R Jayaraju would not settle for anything less. It can reportedly lay asphalt over 5000 square metres in one day. The aim is to at least finish off the backstraight in three days.
The horse return is now all set to receive its asphalt dressing too.
Week 6 - August 11 – 17
While the containers of Polytrack keep coming on site at a regular rate, the ground preparation works are still in full swing. The drainage pipes are all laid in save for the first bend area. But this week, the digging up of trenches to receive the cell drainage have commenced. Some sections have already received the polyethylene sheeting and the Geotextile membrane as well. As for the other areas the big gravels are close to get over the line at the winning post. While the Polytrack is looking right on track, the Kranji racecourse is a busy hive of construction activity elsewhere! The new stable blocks, uphill track, spelling station, riding centre are all starting to take shape. Get ready for another blog update on those exciting new features very soon!
The foundations to the future spelling station are already in place.
The construction of seven new stable blocks housing 50 boxes each have reached an advanced stage and is right on schedule. The metal roof structure is already erected. The new stables are located behind the backstraight of the racecourse.
This picture gives a better idea of the gradient of the uphill track, which is the one where the two bulldozers are rolling on (against the treeline backdrop). The slope picks up from the right and rises to its apex before sloping down again to end around the point behind the cluster of bamboo shoots in the foreground of the picture.
It may look more like the perfect trail for a motocross race, but in a few months' time this will be the uphill track for racehorses at Kranji. The track will be 1000m long and will start from outside the start of the backstraight to run parallel to it and gradually rise to this hill here on the picture. The sign indicates the 600m mark.
A hilltop view of the Kranji racecourse (the grey track - aggregates - on the inside of the turf track is where the Polytrack will be) from the construction site of the new uphill track which is also about to get underway. Watch this space for more progress updates on just one of many new projects from the Singapore Turf Club.
The winning post is in sight! Because of all the underground cables and wires around there, fewer drains will be installed but they are more than adequate.
The above two photos (Photo 29 and 30) illustrate the existing camber of the bend at the home turn. The layer of big gravels has been rolled over several times to spread and compact it to the gradient of the camber.
The big gravels made up of 30-40mm aggregates are almost close to covering up the whole track before the porous asphalt is poured on top. This picture shows the gravels are about 200m (the darker demarcation represents the polyethylene sheet) from the winning post. The last section to be covered is the sloped first bend.
The horse return path gets its finishing touches (Photos 26 and 27) as the big aggregates go on top.
The bend leading to the backstraight gets "wrapped up" in its geotextile
membrane and polyethylene sheeting.
Right after the banking of the first turn was completed, the next stage was to lay in the cell drains. Here channels are being dug up to take in the cell drains.
Week 5 - August 4 - 10
With the last rolls of polyethylene sheets waiting to go on the track (only 600m to go), some areas are already getting topped off with the layer of aggregates that will receive the asphalt which is due to start in Week 6. The start of the backstraight around the 1200m and the area near the horse tunnel are first to go. Kim Elliott from Proinn, representing Polytrack, was on hand to supervise the works. He was thanking the skies for the good weather we have been blessed with in the last couple of weeks. "If it had rained, the soil would have absorbed some of the water and would not be so good to receive the aggregates," he said. The new incline to the first bend looks in great shape and ready to take in the drains. The Polytrack shipment is now already arriving on site at a regular rate.
From the 13,000 tonnes of Polytrack required to make up Track 2, about 8,000 tonnes are already on site, stockpiled near the maintenance area next to the racecourse. Shipments of 20 to 30 containers (about 600 to 700 tonnes) are unloaded at regular intervals.
The layer of 30-40mm aggregates is progressing smoothly and has now reached the end of the backstraight, though Track manager R Jayaraju and his hard-working team were occasionally faced with the challenge of going around sprinklers.
The level is still uneven and should be compacted to its desired level ready to receive asphalt by August 13.
Cell drains awaiting to be laid into the shallow channels at the bends at the 800m mark.
The team is busy installing formwork to erect a concrete retaining wall to the outside of the first bend. It is part of the upgrading of the gradient of the camber from 2 degrees to 5 degrees. The kerb will keep the extra fill used to raise the level towards the outside.
Banking to the first turn is now complete. The grey area on the outside track represents the fill material of crusher run and aggregates used to achieve the gradient. Starting from the winning post, the bend rises gradually up to a 5 degree incline before sloping down again to zero as it enters the start of the backstraight. The cell drains should be laid around that area soon.
The drains are about 80% complete. As you can see on that photo, the polyethylene sheets have reached the 200m mark and probably need about 600m more, including the newly-upgraded first turn, to go.
The run-up from the tunnel to the Polytrack has also received its layer of aggregates.
The bigger 30-40mm aggregates are now being laid over the plastic sheets and compacted to the desired extent. The start of the backstraight (Photo 16) and the chute from the horse tunnel (Photo 17) are the first areas to receive the aggregates.
Week 4 - July 28 - August 3
The upgrading of the banking to the first turn is now underway. Aggregates and crusher run are being used as fill material and rolled over until the desired angle of 5 degrees is achieved. As the drainage now enters the home straight, the team gets ready to lay in the last drain pipes while the shallower drains around the home bend are laid with cell drains. Outside drains and collector drains are also being put in place.
The “horse return” side path along the backstraight will also be laid with Polytrack. Small concrete kerbs have also been laid to receive the side railings. Outlets at 300mm interval have been cast in the kerbs to drain off the rainwater into the side channel.
This is one of the outside drains that will collect water from the outer
The cell drains are now being laid at the bends. Two layers are stacked up on top of each other so as to capture a greater volume of water. Cell drains are more efficient in evacuating rainwater in the shortest period of time.
One of the most challenging tasks of the whole project is the raising of the incline around the first bend. Previously set at 2 degrees, the new track will see the first bend into the backstraight banked at 5 degrees. Layers of aggregates and crusher run are being used as fill material to reach the desired angle. As this area will need compacting and sufficient time to settle, it will be the last zone to receive its drainage network.
This marker determines the finishing level of the new 'raised' surface around the first bend. The winning post is set at 'zero'.
One of the critical areas of the drainage is the collector drains, which as its name suggests, collect all the rainwater before it is channelled off through holes in the concrete kerb into the main drain (just outside the inside rails). This man is using a compactor to flatten the drain over which will be laid a polyethylene plastic sheet followed by aggregates. Planter boxes will be placed on top at regular intervals.
Week 3 - July 21 – 27
After successfully setting the first drainage system from the start of the
The whole length of the backstretch has had its layer of polyethylene plastic laid, complete with drains filled with aggregates.
The drainage system is progressing very well and has now reached the home turn. 700m of drains have been laid this week. You will notice that the drains are not as deep at this area and will have a cell drainage system instead of the 150mm diameter pipe. It is critical at home turns to drain off the water as quickly as possible while in straight stretches, it is the volume of water which needs to be evacuated.
Three of these mechanical trenchers are being used to dig up the trenches to receive the drain pipes. They are typically 350mm wide and 300mm deep along the straight tracks.
Week 2 - July 14 - 20
Now that the old Fibresand has been cut away, the stripped base is ready to receive its new skin! With a full team of workers pressing on until night time under the supervision of track manager R Jayaraju, the progress is looking good. Starting from the start of the backstraight, the first drains, so critical to the performance of a racetrack, especially in rainy Singapore, are being laid one by one. No stone is literally being left unturned. Before being cast in, aggregates that surround the drains are first given a thorough pray to get rid of any silt or fine particles that may choke up the drainage system.
A 150mm thick layer of the old Fibresand track had been ripped up from Track 2 to lay bare the Chunam (clay) base onto which the new Polytrack surface will be laid over. This is the bend before entering the backstraight.
Trenches have been dug up to receive the perforated 150mm diameter
A white Geotextile membrane is rolled out over the clay base to prevent the clay from swelling up. Another layer of black polyethylene plastic sheet (see Photo 4) is laid over to ensure an impermeable sheet that will channel all the rainwater towards the drains.
A typical view of polyethylene pipe T-junction after being laid over washed aggregates. The rainwater will collect from down below to rise up to the pipe which it seeps through the perforations (not visible on this photo).
It is therefore of paramount importance that the aggregates are completely silt-free or particle-free so as not to clog up the drains. A vibrating aggregate washer similar to the ones used in stone quarries, is used on site to wash the aggregates thoroughly. Here the crane is dumping a load of unwashed aggregates into the washer.
An electric cutter is used to make perforations into the polyethylene tubes that will be used for the drainage network under the Polytrack.
Uphill Track Update
January 26, 2009
We’re now close to the winning post. The uphill track is almost ready for opening. The final touch-ups like the construction of the trainers’ viewing gallery will soon be underway.
The return track (left with the lighter-coloured surface) is almost ready. Riding alongside the Polytrack uphill track, the 10m-wide track consists of the same sub-soil drain as the Polytrack, but is topped off with Fibresand instead. With only the middle portion left to lay out, the return track should be completed by the end of this week.
The return track extends from the uphill track back to the stables through this access.
Any loose horses will be cornered in this ‘trap’ area at the top of the uphill track. The area is secured by means of swinging gates that help channel the loose horse into this isolation paddock. The inner railings are yet to be installed over the uprights, as can be seen on this photo.
This is the proposed area for the trainer’s viewing gallery.
This is the top of the return track to the uphill track.
Grippers such as those leguminous creepers will be planted on the slopes to prevent erosion (refer to Photo 34 below). They also have nitrogen-fixing properties which will help in the making of manure.
December 14, 2009
The uphill track is all done up! The final load of Polytrack was dumped right at the top of the track on December 14. Track manager R Jayaraju and his men worked round the clock from Saturday morning (December 12) to lay out the synthetic material over 1000m, all spread and compacted to the desired level. Railings on both sides of the track were also installed concurrently. But the spanking new track will not be open for business until the horse return, trainer’s stand and viewing gallery are completed early next year.
A splendid view of the uphill track from the half-way point looking down.
A dump truck tipping the last batch of Polytrack on the uphill track.
The railings were erected at the same time as the Polytrack was being laid.
A bulldozer quickly spreads the Polytrack evenly on the track.
The Buggy Track is all ready. It's already being utilised as a service road during the construction of the uphill track.
This footing being cast will see the erection of a three-tiered protective railing at the end of the uphill track. The barrier will act as a safety rails for any oncoming horse.
The horse return track is now the next task awaiting Jayaraju and his team. Note the herringbone trenches that have already been dug up to receive the subsoil drain pipes.
December 3, 2009
The next stage in the uphill track has commenced. With the laying of the aggregates having been completed, a 50mm covering of asphalt has began which covers the aggregates in readiness for the final stage of Polytrack, a mixture which consists of recycled fibres, silica sand and chopped rubber, all coated with wax.
Machinery depositing the asphalt over the screenings with workmen on
The asphalt is laid in two stages to get an even spread.
The early stages of the finished asphalt product. It is rolled flat to rid the asphalt of any undulations which aids in the drainage of the Polytrack.
November 20, 2009
The drains have been layed with perforated Polypipes of 100mm and 150mm in diameter and now the aggregates and screenings have gone over the top as part of the drainage. The finishing touches are being applied in readiness for the laying of 50mm of asphalt which will begin in early December.
October 15, 2009
Working from the top of the uphill track, our construction team has started laying the subsoil drains into the herringbone channels cast into the concrete slab. The drains are made up of perforated Polypipes of 100mm and 150mm diameter. The gaps are then filled with 10-20mm aggregates before being topped up with 20-30mm aggregates, ready to receive a 50mm thick layer of asphalt.
The top of the track has just received its first layer of 20-30mm aggregates. On the left is a planter area 300m wide where shrubs will be
This is the top of the track where the buggy track ends into a U-turn.
A view of the uphill track from the 750m peg. Note the Polypipes and PVC T-junctions lying by the side waiting to be laid into the drains.
September 23, 2009
The Polytrack uphill track’s lean concrete slab complete with subsoil drains is all done up. Ancillary structures like the buggy track (which runs on the outside of the track), culvert drains and lamp-posts are also completed. The next phase of constructing a grass uphill track running parallel to it has just started. The cut-and-fill process to attain the desired contour is underway and in good progress.
This photo is taken about 150m from the summit of the uphill track. On the left is the 11m wide Polytrack course with the concrete slab ready to receive the next layer of aggregates and asphalt. On the right is the finished surface level of the strip where the proposed turf track will come and sit on. The cut-and-fill process is 60% complete. The middle concrete structure is the culvert box drain that runs the whole length of the track. Notice how the track sweeps around a bend at the bottom.
This is another view of the track from a lower point looking uphill. At a gradient of 3.67%, this section represents the steepest climb of the track.
A buggy service road was also built along the uphill track. It will mainly serve as an access road for staff while trainers may choose to come and watch their charges work up close from there.
July 20 – 26
Singapore Turf Club’s new uphill track, which is located around the north-east side of the Singapore Racecourse and is due for completion in January 2010, is starting to take shape.
After almost a year of cut and fill, levelling, rolling and compacting, the lie or topography of the new training track is ready to receive the first layer making up the substrata of the Polytrack – a 150mm thick slab of lean concrete.
Track manager R Jayaraju explained the concrete is necessary to prevent any differential settlement that may arise as a result of shifting earth from the cut and fill underneath the track.
The first pouring of the lean concrete took place at the bottom part of the track, and was cast over a distance of 100m at a gradient of 2% sloping 13m across towards a side box culvert. In this photo, the formwork to herringbone drains held together by jutting metal bars have yet to be struck off. The next layer to go over the lean concrete will be 10-20mm diameter aggregates.
Herringbone drains at 6m interval will channel water off at a V-angle towards a subsoil pipe which then branch off into a box culvert on the side.
This is the starting point of the uphill track as indicated by the 0.00 base level on the culvert drain.
Next to the 11m wide track, a 2m wide horse return will be built alongside. The raffia string on this photo demarcates the future location of the horse return.
Horses will walk to the uphill track via this bridge (Photo 5) coming from the access road along Michael Clements’ Stable to head down a bitumen access road (Photo 6), which goes around the south end of the new stable block, and ends into an assembly area (Photo 7) where horses will mill around, warm up before they gallop off onto the uphill track.
The end of the box culvert on this photo indicates the end of the uphill track. Some levelling works are still going on around that naturally-undulated area.
Laying of the box culvert is still going on as shown on this picture. The 1m deep concrete drains are cast in-situ and laid over compacted aggregate. When the formwork is struck off, the top half of the side walls are exposed but will eventually be covered up to the top by the subsequent sub-layers of concrete (150mm), aggregates (100m to 300m deep), asphalt (50mm) and Polytrack (150mm).
A top view of the future uphill track No 2, which will be built at a later stage. Currently, the end of that track sits at a large drop close to the end of the first track. More earth will then be backfilled in the huge void to raise the platform to its desired finished level.
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