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Logano digs in at Texas Motor Speedway

April 10, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Logano digs in at Texas Motor Speedway
Driver helps promote 811 “Call Before You Dig” national hotline, progress of highway 114 construction project

Video: Logano operates a hydraulic excavator

The Highway 114 Construction Project continued its progress Wednesday with the help of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano as part of his kickoff of National Safe Digging Month.

Logano took a break from his 3,300-pound stock car and jumped behind the wheel of a 125,000-pound CAT hydraulic excavator along a stretch of the Highway 114 Project to demonstrate the importance of safe digging.

“That’s cool to be able to use a big earth mover like that to pick up a bunch of dirt,” Logano said. “I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I was playing around like a kid in a candy store. I can do that all day. It was pretty fun.”

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Logano’s ceremonial dig will be the only work that will be done on the Highway 114 Project during this weekend’s NRA 500 NASCAR doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway. The Texas Department of Transportation and contractor Mario Sinacola & Sons Excavating have halted construction, leaving all lanes along the key stretch of Highway 114 running past TMS fully open to fans during the race week.

The Highway 114 construction project targets the stretch of highway west of I-35W and covers the road east of FM 156, including a key segment in front of TMS. The project, aimed at expanding a two-lane road to a four-lane frontage road, will help improve traffic flow with increased capacity. The $15.3 million project will make the commute easier for both race fans and residents around TMS.

The Highway 114 Project will not be the only construction on hold this weekend to ensure a smooth commute for race fans. The DFW Connector Project also will halt construction ensuring there will be no lane closures this weekend.

The Highway 114 Project is part of a transformation that will ultimately improve traffic year-round around TMS.

“The people are going to notice a smoother flow of traffic for race week,” Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Michelle Releford said about completion of the project. “This area has grown like crazy all over 114. We’ve got several projects going on right now just for 114 widening. There are tons of new subdivisions out here and businesses. Everybody else is going to know that their rush hour commute is more consistent as far as getting to work on time.”

The project is slated to be completed by late next year, but fans and residents should be seeing a noticeable difference throughout the year.

“The project is going along really well,” Releford said. “Later this year more lanes will be opened up and next year we will have traffic on all the new lanes.”

Logano’s effort to help celebrate National Safe Digging Month is part of Shell’s partnership with Common Ground Alliance to raise awareness for 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” hotline. With one easy phone call to 811, the process begins of getting underground utility lines marked. Local One Call Center personnel will then notify affected utility companies, who will send crews to mark underground lines for free. The move saves time and eliminates the risk of damaging utility lines.

“You don’t want to be that guy,” Logano said. “It’s easy, it’s simple. They do it for you. Just so you don’t make all your neighbors mad at you. It’s a simple thing to do. It’s kind of a no-brainer in my eyes to do it.”

Tickets for the NASCAR doubleheader featuring Friday evening’s Nationwide Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 and Saturday night’s NRA 500 are available by calling (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com

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